Trunks and Branches Felled by Hurricane Ian Remain on the Streets of Havana

Corner of 17 and K in El Vedado, Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez,  Havana, 8 DecemberThe trees felled by Hurricane Ian in Havana, more than two months ago, seem to be nobody’s problem. The roots of a formidable specimen of Indian laurel, which stand out among the rubble and garbage at the corner of 17th and F, in El Vedado, Havana, attest to this.

Due to the impact of the winds in September, the laurel tore apart the gate of a state office linked to tourism and its trunk remained there until the return of the workers, after the cyclone. Then, workers from the Electric Company cut down the fallen trunk and several branches of the neighboring laurels.

According to an office worker speaking to 14ymedio, all the trees were planted together and belong to the same variety. “A few days after the cyclone, the people from the office tried to clear the place with machetes and left the garbage on the corner,” he reported. “After many days, a truck passed and took what it could.”

The current appearance of the corner of 17 and F, however, leaves much to be desired. Separating the trunk from the roots, they threw the latter into the same flowerbed where the tree was planted. Dirt has been accumulating around the pavement, also broken by the tearing up of the laurel, and even the neighbors have already transformed the place into a small dump.

Nor has the gate been repaired, its bars having been bent by the blow from the trunk, and there do not seem to be any plans to restore the concrete column that immobilized the gate, and also destroyed by the laurel.

The neglect of Community Services and the careless passage of passers-by does not augur any change in the terrible hygiene of the street. The tree, the trash, and even a rusty aluminum tank that keeps them company have fallen into no man’s land.

For greater irony, the entrance to the building proudly displays the plaque that distinguishes its occupants as a Collective of Heroic Tradition.

It is not the first time that 14ymedio has verified the lack of cleanliness in the streets of Havana, on which Hurricane Ian has left traces that remain more than two months later. “Since the sidewalk is the responsibility of the authorities, no one, neither the company nor the neighbors, will do anything more,” says the worker.

The trees uprooted by the hurricane, the leaves and roots that no one will clean up, and the garbage that people leave are now a common sight in the capital’s neighborhoods. This newspaper denounced how the residents of Parque Trillo, in Centro Habana, must skirt the fallen branches and avoid the poorly paved walkway.

Added to the chaos in public areas is damage to monuments, broken benches and poor quality pavement. None of these realities is discussed in the official press and, of course,  local leaders and the Government of the Island don’t lose any sleep over it.

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