According to the report, the combined action of the winds, rains and flooding caused by these two hurricanes resulted in the most devastating effects in the history of this kind of natural disasters in Cuba.

After recalling that, due to the trajectory of both hurricanes, all the provinces of the country were threatened and even suffered the direct impact of Gustav and Ike, the report notes that, in all, 3 179 846 people were evacuated – 2 772 615 of them due to hurricane Ike. For this purpose, more than 10,000 means of transportation were used and hundreds of facilities were fitted up as shelters. In addition, 176,113 students in boarding schools were returned home while 2,818 tourists were relocated.

The note adds that although there were no human losses during hurricane Gustav, seven people died in different provinces not only due to the direct effects of hurricane Ike but also for not observing the protection measures oriented by the National Civil Defense.

Material Losses

According to the report, preliminary figures indicate economic losses to the tune of five billion dollars.

Undoubtedly, the report notes, some of the worst consequences left by Gustav and Ike were in the housing sector with more than 444,000 houses ravaged, including partial and complete losses of roofs. In all, 63,249 houses collapsed.

The most severe damages took place in the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Holguin, Las Tunas and Camaguey as well as in the Isle of Youth Special Municipality.

Main Damages Caused by Gustav in Other Sectors

Preliminary assessments show that the main damages caused by Gustav took place in the Isle of Youth Special Municipality and in Pinar del Rio province, particularly in the municipalities of San Cristobal, Los Palacios, Consolacion del Sur, Viñales, La Palma, Minas de Matahambre, Candelaria and Bahia Honda.

The situation is critical in 120,105 houses in Pinar del Rio, mainly in Los Palacios and San Cristobal. Likewise, associated to the damages caused to houses and buildings, more than 4,000 water tanks were destroyed.

Meanwhile, the power supply infrastructure in the western region of the country was also severely affected by Gustav. In all, 137 electricity pylons of the Mariel-Pinar del Rio 220 KV transmission line were destroyed and also 13 of the 110 KV line. In addition, 4,500 posts fell, 530 electricity transformers and 5,000 public lamps were damaged.

In the Isle of Youth, all the electricity lines were damaged.

Also in the western part of the country, more than 55,700 hectares of different crops were completely lost and 80% of the poultry farming sector was severely damaged in the Isle of Youth and completely destroyed in the eight municipalities of Pinar del Rio directly hit by Gustav.

In Pinar del Rio, 3,414 tobacco curing and storing facilities were destroyed and 1,590 others were partially damaged. More than 800 tons of tobacco were lost.

Meanwhile, 180,000 hectares of forests were affected.

As to the industrial production of food, 28 bakeries, eight candy factories and a fruit and vegetable canning factory were damaged.

In all, 4,355 tons of foodstuffs in warehouses were affected.

As to the Radio Cuba system, two medium wave towers and the television tower in the Isle of Youth were completely destroyed thus damaging radio and television transmissions. The same happened to the towers of San Cristobal, La Palma and Los Palacios and in the municipalities of Artemisa and Bauta, in Habana province.

In the telecommunications sector, 9,316 services were affected, mainly in the Isle of Youth (7,797) and Pinar del Rio (1,021).

The damages caused to TV sets, VCRs and computers continue to be assessed. Thus far, 794 computers in the sectors of health and education were affected.

As to the health sector in the western region, 314 facilities suffered damages of significant magnitude including 26 hospitals, 18 policlinics, 191 family doctor’s offices, 14 old people’s homes and 42 drugstores.

Elsewhere, in the education sector, 1,160 centers were damaged, including 599 in Pinar del Rio, 218 in Habana province, 225 in Havana City, and 87 in the Isle of Youth Special Municipality.

Important facilities of the Nueva Gerona Port were destroyed and there were damages in the airport of the special municipality of Isle of Youth.

Main Damages Caused by Hurricane Ike

Without having concluded the assessments, the main damages caused by Hurricane Ike took place in the following provinces and municipalities:

• Guantanamo: municipalities of Baracoa and Maisi.

• Holguin: municipalities of Holguin, Banes, Antilla, Moa, Rafael Freyre, Mayari and Gibara.

• Las Tunas: municipalities of Tunas, Puerto Padre, Manatí and Jesús Menéndez.

• Camagüey: municipalities of Camagüey, Nuevitas, Guáimaro, Najasa, Florida, Sibanicú, Minas and Santa Cruz del Sur.

• Ciego de Ávila: municipalities of Ciego de Avila, Venezuela, Baraguá and Majagua.

• Sancti Spíritus: municipalities of Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad and La Sierpe.

• Villa Clara: municipalities of Manicaragua, Encrucijada, Santo Domingo and Sagua la Grande.

• Cienfuegos; municipalities of Cumanayagua and Aguada de Pasajeros.

• Matanzas: municipalities of Matanzas, Unión de Reyes, Calimete, Perico and Jagüey Grande.

The power supply service was affected nationwide and the country remained without electricity for several hours due to the direct effect of the winds and heavy rains.

Mini and micro hydroelectric plants were severely damaged.

There are generalized interruptions of communications due to fallen trees, telephone posts and transmission towers.

All the coffee areas in the eastern region of the country were affected and the crop was lost in the municipalities of Mayari, Sagua de Tanamo, Maisi and in the province of Granma.

More than 32,300 hectares of banana plantations and 10,000 hectares of other products were lost in the eastern provinces.

More than 500,000 fowls were lost and 100,000 of them were sacrificed and sold to the population. The damages to the poultry sector were severe in Sancti Spiritus, Matanzas, Las Tunas and Camagüey.

In the sugar cane sector, 518,879 hectares were flooded and 3,895 hectares of newly planted cane were lost. In addition, 40,000 tons of sugar have to be processed as they got wet. In addition, 10,000 hectares of bananas, rice, beans and other products were damaged.

Industrial facilities also suffered damages and their production stopped.

The Ministry of Domestic Trade reports damages to 49,000 tons of products, mainly in Holguin province.

A total of 2,642 facilities of the Ministry of Education were partially or completely damaged as well as 186 children’s day-care centers.

The Ministry of Higher Education also reports damages in the universities of Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, Matanzas, Villa Clara and Holguin as well as in the municipal venue of Puerto Padre in Las Tunas province and in the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Habana province.

Severe damages were also caused to 146 cultural institutions and 82 sports facilities including five provincial baseball stadiums, eight multi-sports halls and two swimming pool complexes.

Land communication has also been affected due to fallen trees and flooding and thousands of kilometers of roads and highways have been damaged nationwide.

Seven ports remain closed and severe damages were caused to the roofs of those of Vita, Carupano and Nuevitas.

Cuban Agency News
La Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) es una división de la Agencia de Información Nacional (AIN) de Cuba fundada el 21 de mayo de 1974.

Cuban News Agency