Post-Hurricane Irma


Written by Ian Sergeant 

Our thoughts are with our Cuban friends this week, after Hurricane Irma ravaged the northern coast of the country, and had a devastating effect on the entire country. As of this writing, the entire electrical infrastructure has been severely damaged, which means that Cubans are also without internet access. The Civil Defense System worked all night trying to keep people safe. He says they were heroic in their endeavors. Many trees are down, buildings completely destroyed, and 5th Avenue (where most of the embassies are) is completely under water. Much rebuilding will need to be done as the water subsides, and we will lend a hand in any way that we can - at the very least by continuing to bring our business to support the people of Cuba.

We received word from our recently licensed attorney friend Amalia regarding Cojimar, Hemingway's favorite place to fish and to get away from fame-chasers. Much of it was destroyed in the hurricane. Amalia lives next to Cojimar in Panamericana, a modern suburb of Havana, and some apartments do have limited electricity and internet access if their inhabitants work in essential government positions. Otherwise, the entire electrical infrastructure in Cuba is damaged. Interesting side note: Panamericana was built to house the athletes of the 1991 Pan American Games. Afterward, the apartments were given to the people who built it. It is surreal to visit such a modern neighborhood in historic Havana. Amalia also reports that the government is providing everyone with a nutritious soup and dessert at a deeply subsidized price.

Update from our architect friend Roger, reporting from his mother's place of work in the Miramar Trade Center, where there is electricity and internet:

There have been waves of flooding continuing to hit Havana, but the water is finally low enough that neighbors are getting their furniture and other assets back from those who helped them protect their belongings in upper floor apartments. Women and children are carrying as much as they can.

Roger has no radio, because the batteries are dead. Most of the city has no electricity, nor access to internet.

Raul sent people to other provinces where the hurricane had hit in order to help restore the electrical infrastructure. Some of those workers are returning to Havana in order to get the capital city back to running order.

The top layers of asphalt streets were destroyed and displaced. In parts of Vedado you can see the original cobblestone. Linea Avenue is completely closed to traffic due to flooding. The tunnel under the Almendares River is completely submerged.

A large piece of living coral was ripped out of the sea and wedged in the side of a building. For now it is impossible to remove. In order to get some fresh air, there are people playing dominoes in Centro Havana on floating wreckage. Cubans are resilient. They are certainly devastated, but have not sunk into despair. The rebuilding has already begun.

Roger has a lot of photos on his FB page: https://www.facebook.com/roger.dominguezmartinez
He apologizes for the incorrect dates - his stepfather doesn't know how to set the time and date on the camera.

Additionally, you can check out Radio Cuba for updated news: https://goo.gl/QtK7nG

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