Damage from Hurricane Dennis at $1.4 billion
Campaign News | Tuesday, 12 July 2005
Thousands of homes and hundreds of electrical posts destroyed, 1.5 million evacuated in advance of storm
President Fidel Castro announces in TV Roundtable Number of deaths up to 16, Serious damage to 120,000 homes, Intensive work underway to restore electricity, gas and water services
Havana, July 12: PRESIDENT Fidel Castro highlighted the economic damage wrought by Hurricane Dennis throughout the Cuban archipelago, which stands at approximately $1.4 billion.
In a televised appearance, the Cuban leader stated that if it had passed directly over the capital that total would have increased to $3 billion.
He reported that some 1,531,000 people were evacuated throughout the country; 245,106 went into hostels and the rest stayed with relatives.
Fidel affirmed that 16 people died during the passing of the hurricane: 13 in Granma province, two in Santiago de Cuba and one in Sanctí Spíritus.
A total of 120,000 homes were heavily damaged, 15,000 were totally destroyed, 25,000 partially destroyed; 24,000 roofs were completely wrecked and 60,000 partially destroyed.
In the agricultural sector, citrus plantations in the Jagüey Grande area were affected and animals killed, including 73,000 poultry fowl.
It was also announced that 1,025 electricity posts were felled and 21 municipalities were left without power. The Cienfuegos plant was functioning at 5% of its generating capacity and that in Matanzas at 15%.
Due to the lack of electricity 2.5 million people are lacking a direct water supply.
In terms of hotels damaged by the passing of Dennis, the total stands at 21.
Fidel announced that plans for improving the situation of the population include an additional investment of $400 million for foodstuffs.
He praised the support of Venezuela, which has dispatched a boat - due to arrive next Sunday - with electricity towers, electricity materials and fuel, among other resources for the island’s recuperation, and recalled that our country was the first to send aid to the sister people of Jamaica in the present circumstances.
Misael Enamorado, first secretary of the Communist Party in Santiago de Cuba, detailed the difficult conditions in the province in the wake of Dennis, which brought down 98 electricity circuits, 24 of which have been repaired.
The Cuban president expressed his confidence in the people overcoming all the difficulties that nature puts in their way.
CUBA WILL NOT ACCEPT HUMANITARIAN AID FROM THE US OR EUROPE
Cuba will not accept humanitarian aid from the United States given the criminal blockade it has imposed, nor from any of the European governments that have withdrawn their aid under the pretext of human rights’ violations resulting from the condemnation of the island by mercenary elements in the service of the US government.
President Fidel Castro made that statement during the Informative Roundtable transmitted on Cuban radio and television to assess the damaged occasioned by Hurricane Dennis throughout 11 of the country’s provinces.
The leader of the Cuban Revolution affirmed that genuine humanitarian aid is what Cuba is undertaking in terms of medical attention to citizens of other countries; for example, by facilitating cataract operations for thousands of Venezuelans, among other treatments.
Reflecting on the damage caused by the cyclone he emphasized the importance of developing an energy culture among the people, to intensify the saving of energy to avoid elevated fuel costs, as well as wasting water, which likewise leads to unnecessary costs. During the Roundtable, the first secretaries of the Party in the provinces of Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Habana and City of Havana offered ample information on the measures being adopted to restore electricity, gas and water supplies affected by the passing of the hurricane, whose maximum 250-km winds lashed the south of the island after entering east of Santiago de Cuba, whipping the Jardines and Jardinillos de la Reina and the south of Camagüey province, seriously affecting the capital and the historic city of Trinidad, close to where it penetrated the central provinces in a diagonal trajectory that also affected the territories of Santa Clara, Matanzas, Habana province, before leaving land at Guanabo, 30 kilometers from the capital of the island.
At the same time, via telephone, the first secretaries of the Party in Sanctí Spíritus, Granma and Santiago de Cuba announced the damage inflicted by the hurricane, which affected close to eight million people. They detailed the installation of emergency electricity sources in hospitals, water supplies and other essential aspects of the restoration of public services.
IN the aftermath of Hurricane Dennis, which affected 600 kilometers of Cuba, 225 of them on land, diverse labors are going on all over Cuba to return to normalcy. Encouraged by a sun that had disappeared for a few days, brigades are working to repair the substantial damage left by the storm.
The busiest include thermoelectric plant and electrical line repair workers, all of them aiming to reestablish that service, which eight of the island’s 10 provinces were lacking, according to Prensa Latina.
According to an informative notice issued by the Electricity Union last night, the situation will progressively return to normal in eastern and central Cuba, but is more complex in the western regions.
Nevertheless, although the electric power system was divided into two parts for operational purposes, most generating plants were working, and all or nearly all of them are expecting to be working by tonight or tomorrow.
Round-the-clock work is also being carried out by workers at water and manufactured gas plants, which were paralyzed for more than 48 hours due to operational problems or lack of electricity.
A nationwide assessment of damages is yet to be completed, but it was evident that they are considerable, particularly in the eastern and central provinces, including Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, La Habana and part of the City of Havana.
In eastern Cuba, where the hurricane first touched ground, it left 10 people dead, eight of them in Granma province, and two in Santiago de Cuba.
According to initial reports, the main material damage was to the housing and economic infrastructure, both because of hurricane winds (which blew up to 200 kilometers per hour) and flooding.
In Havana, efforts were concentrated on reestablishing electric power and water as soon as possible.
Extensive preventative work and a population very experienced in these types of situations made it possible, both before and during the hurricane, to evacuate nearly 1.5 million people nationwide to safe locations.
These efforts, and Dennis’s trajectory and evolution were closely followed by President Fidel Castro, who during a speech broadcast over radio and TV affirmed that no resources would be spared to attend to the damages suffered by the people and the national economy.
"We are prepared to deal with this or any other hurricane. I do not think that any other country in the world has a mechanism like ours to minimize the damages that may be caused by an event of this nature," the president stated.
Once again, Cuba proves ability to resist hurricanes
Havana, July 10: The evacuation of over 1,5 million people and the mobilization of 180,000 civil defence officials helped reduce damages by hurricane Dennis in Cuba.
The deadly storm’s winds and torrential rains pummelled Friday over 600 kilometers of the Cuban territory during 10 hours, killing 10 people in the south-eastern provinces of Granma and Santiago de Cuba.
Some 1,200 emergency shelters were opened, while other people sought refuge with their families, in what Civil Defense deputy chief, Luis Angel Macareno called “a proof of the Cuban people’s solidarity”.
Two thirds of the persons evacuated still remained Sunday at government shelters or with their relatives.
According to the Civil Defense official, 1,300 engineering and transportation equipment had been mobilized before hurricane Dennis made landfall in Cuba Thursday night.
Such means, plus 200 mobile power plants will be used during the recovery stage, he added.
Hurricane Dennis claims at least ten lives
Havana, July 9 (AIN) After weakening on its way through Havana Province, hurricane Dennis left Cuban territory towards the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr. Jose Rubiera, head of the Forecast Department of the Cuban Meteorology Center issued an update a little after midnight explaining that Dennis had left the island at a point in eastern Havana Province northern coast after it had weakened down to category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
Hurricane Dennis claimed 10 lives in Cuba and inflicted considerable damage to the electricity infrastructure, housing and telecommunications. The natural phenomena entered the island in central southern Cienfuegos province as a category 4 hurricane with strong winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour.
Nearly 63,000 Citizens were Evacuated in Havana
Havana, July 9 (AIN) The number of Havana citizens who were evacuated reached 62,908 since the early in the morning of Friday when a hurricane warning was issued faced with the imminent arrival of hurricane Dennis.
The head of the Provincial Evacuation Commission, Oneida Rosales del Toro, told reporters that 22,384 people evacuated themselves to neighbors' and relatives' homes, while another 40,554 were taken to safe places allocated by the Havana authorities.
The initiative reflects the high spirit of solidarity of the Cuban people, said del Toro, who noted that those evacuated are residents of coastal areas which are liable to flooding, or live near rivers or in houses that could partially or totally collapse in a hurricane.
Some of the evacuated people also live in high buildings where the strong winds could cause damage, said the official and added that some 510 shelters provide basic conditions to assist the evacuated people, and that included water, food and medical assistance.
Major evacuations took place in the Havana municipalities of Centro Habana, Arroyo Naranjo, Habana Vieja and 10 de Octubre.