By The South Sentinel
HAVANA, Cuba — A situation assessment meeting on Tuesday chaired by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, held during the heavy rains poured on the island by sub-tropical storm Alberto, received preliminary reports from most affected areas indicating four deaths and considerable material infrastructure and home damage.
The meeting, reported by Cuban TV, featured the interior ministry explaining that the four deaths were caused in flooded areas and caused by personal negligence of citizens who did not take necessary precautionary measures. No other details about the victims have been released so far.
The most affected territories include western Matanzas, central Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus and Ciego de Avila provinces.
A major impact from the heavy rains has been the large accumulation of water in reservoirs, which are releasing huge volumes, while floods forced to the evacuation of thousands of dwellers from risky areas. In Matanzas, over 6,000 people were taken to safe places and over 50 homes were damaged, along with 1,700 hectares of crops.
Reports from the south-central province of Cienfuegos said the situation is complicated after 22 areas were flooded and 19 localities remained isolated.
In Central Villa Clara all reservoirs were accumulating water over 99 percent of their capacities, 35 communities were isolated while over 21,000 people were evacuated.
The situation in central Sancti Spiritus was described as a tense scenario as reservoirs were releasing huge volumes of water. In this territory some 15 people were taken to safe places, while 78 communities were isolated.
Meanwhile, in central Ciego de Avila province, major damage was reported in four communities, with about 500 people evacuated. Tornados in this area worsened the scene with damage to several homes.
In the face of the current situation, when rain is still affecting these areas, the Cuban president said that when the weather improves efforts must focus on the recovery of damaged zones, by re-establishing main services and utilities like power, transportation and the availability of food.
“We must make an appropriate assessment of the damage and use learned lessons from hurricane Irma, like the multi-disciplinary working brigades…,” said Diaz-Canel.
The president said that like in previous occasions, the country will get over this difficult situation and this will again prove the response capacity of the Cuban people in facing these natural phenomena, which become more frequent due to climate change.