An entire family collects water from the sea with buckets to clean their precarious home in front of Havana’s boardwalk, heavily impacted by the passage of Hurricane Ian on Tuesday afternoon.
“From two o’clock the sea began to pour in. All this was covered (points to the avenue). We have been cleaning for several hours but until they put on electricity nothing else can be done,” Ignacio Duro Torres, 53, tells Efe. years.
Havana woke up this Wednesday with the ravages of Ian, which hit it with winds of up to more than 100 kilometers per hour after devastating the west of the island as it crossed it, with category three (out of five) on the Saffir-Simpson scale, of south to north.
The streets are littered with fallen trees, more than 1,000 according to authorities. From the first minutes of the morning, trucks with soldiers were deployed to collect branches from the main arteries of the city.
A COUNTRY WITHOUT ELECTRICITY
However, the biggest problem in the Cuban capital -as in the rest of the country- beyond material damage, is the lack of electricity and, in many cases, water in homes.
Since yesterday afternoon, the entire country has been without electricity due to a technical failure in the system related to the hurricane.
The state Electric Union (UNE) reported this morning that almost the entire country remains in the same situation as on Tuesday.
By mid-morning, more than twelve hours after the total blackout, some “isolated microsystems” had been started up with distributed generation generator sets, which has allowed small islands to have electricity.
“I don’t know what to do. 25 families live in this building and we are all the same. There is no electricity or water, we just have to keep going,” laments Anahy, 28.
Both she and Torres watch with concern how their frozen food – a resource that many choose as a kind of warehouse to alleviate shortages – is beginning to spoil.
“There’s nothing left of that (frozen food) anymore,” says Torres.
So far, two deaths from Hurricane Ian have been confirmed, both in the western territory of Pinar del Río. Material damage continues to be accounted for more than 24 hours after the impact.
The country’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, visited various locations affected by Ian on Wednesday to assess first-hand the effects of the hurricane.
A cleaning worker in Old Havana yells sarcastically as he picks up asphalt with a shovel: “We are continuity,” a motto of the island government.
On the other side of the city, on a small beach with several beach bars, some workers hurriedly carry chairs from one of the premises to a second floor. John Lennon’s song “Imagine” plays in the background over the restaurant’s speakers.
“The water hit hard but it went well for us, only the pipes broke down,” says José Luis, custodian of one of the premises, who assures that he stayed there all night.
In the midst of all this situation, Antonio Rafael, 64, pushes a cart with garbage containers in downtown Havana with optimism: “It can always be worse. Man does not live by bread alone,” he says.
Following that advice, a group of children swim in a flooded circular structure of a plaza in front of the Malecón, turned into a saltwater pool.