HAVANA TIMES — Cuban TV reported on Monday morning that ten people have died across the country resulting from the passing of Hurricane Irma. The majority of these people reportedly died as a result of buildings collapsing and in some cases, for not having complied with evacuation orders that they received from Civil Defense troops.
The number of fatalities is very high for Cuba, a country which has suffered 28 hurricanes and tropical storms this century where only 42 people have lost their lives as a result, although material damages have exceeded 24 billion USD, mainly in homes, harvests and the electricity system.
Overall material damages from Irma are still unknown but the government already knows that tens of thousands of homes have been damaged and important tourism facilities have been affected too, especially on islands off of the northern coast of central Cuba, particular in Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria.
Jose Luis Fraser, the co-director of Pullman, the latest hotel on the northern cay, noted that “In 28 years linked to this industry, I have never seen and I could have never have imagined something like this.” His company’s hotel opened less than 2 years ago and damages are estimated to be over 50%.
The small, but significant, benefit among these great losses has been that water levels collected in reservoirs have doubled, thereby exceeding half their capacity on the average. A quantity which, if well managed, could mean a sigh of relief for the Cuban people and the farm sector after having suffered a harsh drought.