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Impact of tropical storm Laura across the country

From East to West, Cuba is working feverishly on recovery, following the rapid transit of tropical storm Laura across the island, re-establishing electrical and telephone service, harvesting crops in fields, planting to replace losses, and repairing damage to homes and other buildings.

Granma presents provincial reports outlining estimates of the principal damages and impact recorded thus far.


Housing: damage to more than 250 homes, in addition to eight educational centers.

Agriculture: In the municipality of La Palma, a preliminary evaluation noted impact on 30% of cassava plantings, 40% of plantain, and total loss of 700 hectares of corn. Tobacco processing infrastructure suffered damage, but thanks to efforts made to protect 30,000 tons of leaf in curing houses and other locations, no losses were reported.

Electricity: Only 5% of the province awoke with service, given damage caused by high winds to two of the four principal transmission lines, 12 of 15 sub- transmission lines and 110 distribution circuits.

Communications: Given the interruption of electrical service, 39 mobile phone radio bases, 105 wifi hotspots, and some 7,000 landlines were left inoperative.

Water resources: Reservoirs reached an average of 75% capacity and 13 were obliged to open floodgates.


Housing: A total of 136 dwellings were affected, with three total losses and two partial in Artemisa, Mariel, Caimito and Alquízar, as well as 37 roofs totally destroyed plus 96 damaged, with the most significant impact in Candelaria, San Cristóbal, Bahía Honda and Artemisa, according to Dargis Tomé Hernández, provincial Housing director.
Damaged plantain fields in the western province of Artemisa. Photo: Otoniel Márquez

Other buildings: Damages reported to roofs at La güireña food processing plant in Güira de Melena, as of that at the San Cristóbal porcine center.

Agriculture: Damage to 2,100 hectares of plantain, 600 hectares of cassava and more than 160 tons of avocado, according to a report to Granma from Tomás Rafael Rodríguez, president of the Agricultural, Livestock and Forestry State Enterprise Group here.

Electricity: Service was interrupted in urban areas of the municipalities of Güira de Melena and Bauta, the latter the most affected within the province, reported Martín de la Concepción Cordero, director of the electric company, with a total of 168 circuits down.

Damage was also significant in rural areas of Caimito, Artemisa, Bahía Honda, Alquízar, with ten utility poles downed. Working on repairs immediately were 18 brigades, in conjunction with two from the Electrical Construction Enterprise, with the support of 23 specialized service vehicles.

Water resources: Two of the province’s reservoirs were obliged to open floodgates, La Coronela, in Caimito, at 99.21% capacity and San Julián, in San Cristóbal, at 99.9%, with the average percentage of capacity filled across the area standing at approximately 60%.

Communications: Some 5,690 landlines were left inoperative, primarily due to interruptions in electrical service, while a number of poles were reported as downed or broken. Of special concern is the impact on 46 radio bases for 2G, 3G and 4G mobile data, limiting access to these services.


Housing: Preliminary reports indicate partial damage to 32 dwellings, of which six will require major repairs. Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, president of the Provincial Defense Council emphasized the importance of moving quickly

to resolve problems, as was done following the tornado in January of 2019.

Agriculture: Reports indicate damage to greenhouses for shade crops and seedlings

Other buildings: Commercial installations report damage to roofing.

Electricity: Service on 182 circuits was interrupted. Work crews from the Havana electric company were deployed to affected areas immediately.

Communications: The Cuban Telecommunications Enterprise (Etecsa) reported on its Twitter account that occasional difficulties arose in access to some services, including the*133# multipurpose number, Transfermóvil and calls to certain exchanges.

Recovery: Work began immediately on clearing of streets, tree and branch removal, large item trash collection, and restoration of basic services, including water and gas, as well as the distribution of food and evaluation of damages to dwellings.


Housing: More than 110 homes were damaged during the storm, with 18 total losses identified, 12 in Batabanó, and 87 roofs affected, with six totally destroyed, including one on a building in Quivicán. Other damage was partial.

Other buildings: Roofing on the Cuba-Sweden Friendship Exact Sciences High School in Melena del Sur was affected, while another 14 educational centers in the province suffered partial damage, all of which should be repaired by September 1, when schools are set to open, the Provincial Defense Council (CDP) noted.

Agriculture: Losses identified on more than 2,440 hectares, above all plantain, cassava, and corn fields, plus fruit orchards, while poultry farms report 400 birds killed as a result of collapsed roofs and beams, in addition to the complete destruction of 16 bays.

Electricity: Some 146,000 clients were left without service following damage to 104 circuits, on which 48 brigades of linemen and technicians began work immediately, according to the CDP.

Water resources: The provinces reservoirs were filled to only 29% capacity prior to the storm, with the Mampostón Reservoir at only 5%, and although rainfall associated with the storm was not notably heavy, some 780,000 cubic meters were added.

Recovery: CDP President Yanina de la Nuez Aclich ordered work to begin as soon as possible to harvest ripe produce in the fields and distribute it to the population, to avoid losses, repair damage to recently sown crops and continue scheduled plantings with emphasis on short cycle crops; and called for the rapid completion of repairs to damaged housing.


Housing: A total of 30 homes suffered partial damage.

Other buildings: Some 27 state institutions were affected, but none seriously, including 10 educational centers which should be repaired before the scheduled re-opening of schools.

Agriculture: No reports of damage.

Electricity: By the afternoon following the storm’s impact on August 25, electrical service had been re-established for 70% of the 139,000 clients affected. All municipal seats had power, with the exception of Jagüey Grande.

Water resources: Despite the wind, the impact of rain within the province was minimal with only four ml of precipitation recorded during the day.

Recovery: Work began immediately on repair of damages in the municipalities of Colón and Ciénaga de Zapata, the most affected.


Housing: No significant damage to dwellings within the province reported.

Other buildings: Among the educational sector’s 365 institutions, only 14 were affected, along with several retail establishments, restaurants and tourist facilities, all of which can be quickly repaired, while public transportation was able to re-initiate operations August 25.

Agriculture: Major damage was concentrated along the southern coastline and mountainous areas. The livestock farm La Sierrita reported some impact on roofing and fences caused by falling trees, as was the case in other highland areas. Both corn and plantain fields in the Horquita agricultural pole suffered damage, but the crops will be harvested immediately, as is.

arcoiris huracanElectricity: Some 86 circuits were impacted, but by late on the 25th, 90% of the city of Cienfuegos had power, although the mountain municipality of Cumanayagua continued without service at that time.

Communications: Seven utility poles were reported as downed, while 27 of the province’s 63 wifi hotspots were left inoperative, along with nine of the 67 telephone radio bases. All problems were resolved in short order.

Recovery: The municipality most affected by tropical storm Laura was Cumanayagua, where electric service was interrupted and reports indicate damage to coffee plantations and roofing at schools, bakeries, and Youth Army of Labor camps.


Housing: Some 133 dwellings were reported as damaged, 110 in Manicaragua, including four total losses and nine suffering partial collapse. A total of 103 roofs suffered some damage and 17 were destroyed.

Agriculture: Coffee plantations and fruit orchards in the mountains suffered the main damage, mostly downed trees, with preliminary estimates indicating the loss of some 4,000 bushels of coffee beans.

Electricity: Reported as damaged were 23 utility poles, seven transformers and 37 circuits.

Communications: Some 2,908 telephone landlines were initially affected with most quickly repaired, as was the case with the 11 mobile phone radio bases reported as damaged.

Water resources: A total of 52.4 mm of rainfall was recorded during the storm in Jibacoa, while in Manicaragua municipality, the Hanabanilla reservoir experienced some benefit from light rain.

Recovery: Manicaragua, as a municipality and the town of Jibacoa have the most work to do repairing homes, overhead wiring and coffee plantations, but were able to immediately clear mountain roads obstructed by debris.


Housing: Reports indicate that 200 homes were damaged, including three total losses, four partial collapses, with eight house roofs entirely destroyed and 178 suffering damage, including seven on other types of buildings.

Water resources: The Zaza reservoir maintained its operational capacity at 34%, since less than a million cubic meters of water was added during the storm. The total added for all reservoirs in the province was 1.19 million, leaving the total stored at 475.6 million cubic meters, 40% of capacity.

Electricity: Some 67 circuits were affected, the majority repaired in short order.


Housing: No damage reported.

Agriculture: No damage reported.

Electricity: 16,000 residents were left temporarily without service, given minor damage to circuits in Venezuela, Ceballos and areas near Patria and Turiguanó in the municipality of Morón; the towns of Gaspar and Baraguá in the municipality of the latter’s name; the Jicotea neighborhood in the provincial capital; and Combinado Minaz, in Ciro Redondo.

Communications: No damage reported.

Water resources: Limited impact.


Housing: A total of 216 dwellings were reported as affected, the majority (175) involved partial damage to roofs and 27 total losses of roofs, with the most significant damage in the municipalities of Santa Cruz del Sur, Sierra de Cubitas, Florida and Nuevitas.

Other buildings: Damage to a small number of schools, sports facilities, and public health centers were evaluated by authorities as minor and will be repaired by workers at the sites, with the support of other forces from their sectors.

Agriculture: Reports indicate four hectares of plantain lost and minor damage to facilities at poultry farms.

Water resources: Rainfall had little impact on reservoirs.


Housing: Reported were 22 dwellings affected, the majority involving roofing.

Agriculture: No damage to crops or infrastructure reported.

Water resources: The province’s reservoirs remain filled at 50% capacity; the storm had little impact.

Electricity: Some 31 circuits were affected, all quickly repaired, including the replacement of two transformers, with only damaged residential services to be addressed.

Recovery: Forces were mobilized to clear debris and storm sewers, while the majority of basic services were re-established within a short period of time.


Housing: A total of 63 dwellings affected, including two complete losses and eight with significant damage. The majority involved roofing.

Agriculture: Damage to 25% of 38 hectares of plantain in the municipality of Banes, with Cueto also reporting damage to plantain fields and irrigation equipment. Roofing at dairy farms in Cueto and Mayarí was affected, as well as calving and office areas.

Electricity: Some 72,965 clients lost service, 19.3% of the province’s total. The municipalities most affected were Mayarí, Cacocum and Cueto, as a result of damage to three 110 kv circuits, fourteen 33 kv and 12 primary lines, as well as 87 transformers.

Water resources: The most significant rainfall was reported in Monte Alto (61 mm) and Mir (51 mm), in Calixto García; Veinte Rosas (5 mm), Urbano Noris, and Pinares de Mayarí (43.8 mm). The province’s reservoirs were filled to 73.1% capacity, with only Birán obliged to open floodgates.


Housing: More than 100 dwellings were reported as affected, mostly minor damage to roofing and walls.

Electricity: Service was impacted in rural areas in the municipalities of Pilón, Media Luna, Guisa, Yara and Bartolomé Masó, where cresting rivers initially limited access for Electric Company repair crews.

Agriculture: The roof at the coffee processing facility in the municipality of Buey Arriba was destroyed, and 17,000 plantain trees were uprooted in Pilón.

Water resources: An average of 56 ml of rainfall was reported across the province, adding 90.2 million cubic meters of water to reservoirs, now holding 46% of capacity.


Agriculture: Some 2,000 bushels of coffee beans are reported on the ground in the municipality of San Luis, which pickers have been mobilized to collect, while 200 hectares of cassava and plantain were affected, in the Songo-La Maya agricultural pole of Los Reynaldos, which must be harvested ahead of schedule.

Housing: A commission of specialists is touring the province’s nine municipalities to determine damage, as well as the cause of two fires, one in the provincial capital’s central historic district that affected offices of the Poultry Enterprise and an apartment building, and another in a supply warehouse at Pepito Tey Polytechnical High School, which experts from the Ministry of the Interior are also investigating.

Electricity: Interruptions of service in the municipalities of Segundo Frente, Tercer Frente, Contramaestre and Guamá were repaired quickly, with more serious damage reported in 81 other areas, including 63 locations in the provincial capital, where power is urgently needed to pump water, with Cayo Granma prioritized.

Communications: Utility poles and lines were downed in the city of Santiago de Cuba, along with four radio bases providing telephone service.

Water resources: Prior to the storm, the provinces reservoirs were filled to 50% capacity, which rose to 67% with the addition of more than 100 million cubic meters of water from rainfall associated with Laura.


Housing: Fifteen total losses were reported, with 13 homes suffering major damage, and 200 less significantly, including 44 roofs lost.

Other buildings: A total of 80 were impacted, including 44 schools, most reporting damage to roofing. Provincial director of Education Raquel Laviste Villafruela reported that repairs at schools will be completed quickly.

Electricity: All municipalities reported damage, including 62 poles down, and 21 transformers destroyed. The electric company’s provincial director, Joaquín Díaz Cantillo, told Granma that service was re-established for 91% of clients in short order.

Agriculture: Some 1,258 hectares of crops were damaged, along with 722 of coffee in Maisí, Yateras, Imías and El Salvador.

Water resources: The provinces reservoirs were filled to 42.5% capacity prior to the storm, rising by an additional 1.2 % as a result of rainfall associated with Laura.


Housing: No damage reported to homes or other buildings.

Agriculture: No significant losses.

Water resources: Rainfall on the island was minimal, with reservoirs remaining at 73% of capacity.

Electricity: Twelve circuits were affected, leaving approximately 11,000 residents temporarily without service.

The Maritime-Port Enterprise Group (Gemar) suspended maritime transportation briefly due to meteorological conditions, restoring cargo transport between Batabanó, Nueva Gerona and Cayo Largo del Sur by 4:00 pm, August 25.

(Source: Granma)

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