Response to Hurricane Irma: Cuba Situation Report No. 5. Office of the Resident Coordinator (12/09/2017)

Report
from UN Country Team in Cuba
Published on 12 Sep 2017

This report is produced by the Office of the Resident Coordinator. It covers the period from 14:00 hrs. on September 011th to 12:00 hrs. on September 12 th .The next report will be issued on or around 13/09.

Highlights

  • Hurricane Irma severely impacted the three regions of Cuba. The greatest damage is reported in the central and western provinces.

  • Preliminary reports show substantial losses in the following sectors: housing, energy, water and sanitation, agriculture, education, health, telecommunications, and tourism (one of the main sources of income in the country).

  • The hurricane has also lead to critical damage to the National Electrical System. Sectorial authorities are prioritizing recovery efforts and seeking alternatives for the gradual restoration of service. A significant part of the population continues to be affected by the lack of electrical services.

  • Damage to the electrical system also prevent the regular pumping of water to a large portion of the population. Havana, with 2.2 million residents, is one the most affected territories.

  • The National Council and the Provincial and National Councils of Civil Defense remain activated, closely following the recovery work and the assessment of damages caused by Irma.

Situation overview

Unlike Hurricane Sandy (2012) and Hurricane Mathew (2016), whose impacts were concentrated in the Eastern Region of Cuba, Hurricane Irma punished almost all of Cuba, with reports of some type of impact in about 90% of the country. Damage is greater in the center and western provinces, however, nowhere escaped the destruction of Hurricane Irma.

The extensive coverage of the damage complicates the recovery process, which is already being undertaken by authorities. Most of the working teams involved in the recovery process in each territory are working in their respective provinces before supporting other affected areas.

The lack of electricity and regular supply of water to the population is mainly reported in the central and western territories. There are some territories that have remained without electricity for five days. Yuri Camilo Viamontes Lazo, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, explained that Hurricane Irma caused significant damage in 100% of the thermoelectric plants located along the northern coast of the country and, to a lesser extent, in two plants along the southern coast. The most serious situation is reported in the Central Region of the Island.

Inés María Chapman, President of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources, pointed out that the most severe damage to the public water supply is reported from the province of Las Tunas to Havana. In the west, the greatest impact is concentrated in Havana.

Electricity Union work teams from Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Artemisa and Pinar del Río Provinces, which are less affected, are enlisted to support recovery efforts in the most affected provinces throughout the rest of the country.