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“Get to work on recovery as quickly as possible”

tormenta-lauraTropical storm Laura made landfall, Sunday, August 23, east of Baconao, in Santiago de Cuba, and after returning to the sea, did so a second time near Capitana Point, in Artemisa, crossing this western province and Pinar de Rio in less than two hours, to enter the Gulf of Mexico at Puerto Esperanza, in the municipality of Viñales.

On the afternoon of August 24, President of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez called for work to begin as quickly as possible to repair damage caused by tropical storm Laura across the island, and not allow this task to join others related to weather events which have been delayed.

The President headed a meeting of the National Defense Council’s socio-economic committee, during which preliminary reports on damage from Mayabeque to Guantanamo were reviewed with governors and ministers, along with measures taken in western provinces to prepare for the storm, reaching this region as the meeting took place.

In his remarks, he emphasized the idea of taking care of these damages as soon as possible, not adding them to to-do lists but rather completing repairs immediately, as was done following the tornado last year in Havana.

Let’s resolve them, he stressed, and continue working on the strategy we have to resolve others, “so these are not delayed over time… and added to the count.”

Conditions exist for this, he insisted, with resources on hand in the majority of areas affected, adding that the Ministry of Economy and Planning would make available whatever was lacking to address the situation.
After hearing a report from authorities in each one of the country’s eastern and central provinces, plus Matanzas and Mayabeque in the West, Díaz-Canel noted, “To this point, we have not had the impact expected, given forecasts, above all in terms of heavy rain, and because the storm moved farther south than initial models indicated.”

But there is damage to be addressed, fundamentally in terms of electric power, that is bothersome, since if we delay in restoring electricity, the water supply and a number of basic services are affected, he insisted.
Making a quick count, the President commented, we have more than a thousand homes damaged. This is not much in comparison to other events, but they must be repaired immediately, above all the complete losses, that require more time to rebuild.

Fortunately, there is less damage than expected, and the storm brought a little water in some parts of the country where the drought is a serious problem, the noted.

The meeting, directed by Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, with the participation of Vice President Salvador Valdés Mesa, a review was also conducted of preparatory measures taken to protect the population and economic resources in the provinces of La Habana, Artemisa and Pinar del Río, as well as the Isle of Youth special municipality.
According to the National Civil Defense Chief of Staff, Division General Ramón Pardo Guerra, as of the time of the meeting, more than 316,000 persons had been evacuated, the majority staying with neighbors and family, adding that preliminary reports indicated that damage was mostly limited to roofs and utility wires, with more than 360 electrical circuits down across the country, as well as agriculture, particularly plantain fields in eastern provinces.
Sectors that were spared major damage, he stated, include transportation, industry, telecommunications, commerce and tourism.

Likewise, the National Water Resources Institute confirmed that the rain was very welcome, with 12% of the average monthly precipitation gained. The greatest totals were reported in Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo.

(Source: Granma)

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