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Hurricane IAN hit the western part of the country on Tuesday the 27th starting at approximately 4 am. It was a category 3 hurricane on a scale of 5. Its maximum sustained winds exceeded 200 km/h and its gusts reached more than 260 km/h. Cuba has always had an attraction to tropical storms and hurricanes. Even more so in the west of the country, the province of Pinar del Rio, which has historically suffered the most from these meteorological events. It was time to suffer once again.
The eye of the hurricane passed through the center of the province around 7am and brought with it an apparent calm, since at that time you can see the clouds and even the sun in this case. A few minutes later, as they pass, the winds begin in the opposite direction and the devastation begins again. It was over the province for more than 7 hours, enough time for it to wreak havoc on the personal economy and that of the country.
Even on Tuesday afternoon, the country's National Electric System collapsed, due to instability and power overload between both regions, western and eastern. All the thermoelectric plants in the country were turned off and another odyssey began. Even the eastern part of the country suffered indirectly from the effects of the hurricane. Personally, I was without power for almost 60 hours. The food in the fridge was about to start to go bad. Luckily last night the current came in my area, something that is still a privilege for many. There are many people still without power and despite the efforts of workers and linemen from all over the country who have come to help in the reconstruction work and erect poles and power lines, there is still a lot to do, weeks and months until all this re-established.
The National Electric System was able to recover yesterday afternoon and little by little began to provide electric service to the entire country.
It is hard to see how many lost everything in a matter of hours. Everything they had fought for in their lives, their material assets, their home, were left in dust. Many total landslides that left entire families homeless. Now difficult days will come, but luckily they have never been left helpless. Little by little, the government is taking charge of being able to rebuild these houses or give them a place to shelter until everything can be solved.
Some stories in their own voice of those who suffered the meteorological phenomenon:
“I am 53 years old and I have lived through several catastrophes, but none like this one. Not only here, you can walk all over this area where disasters are equal to or worse than this”
“We had to leave at dawn and go under the hut that we have behind the house, but it also collapsed and we ran to the neighbors'. The force of the wind was such that the rain did not wet us. It only felt like a whistle. There was absolutely nothing to be seen."
“I can't describe what I felt when I saw the one destroy itself. We had removed the appliances but lost some of the clothes and mattresses. Go figure. But the important thing is to be healthy and keep pushing forward”
“It is unforgettable. We have experienced storms here, the water has reached our knees, but a hurricane of this magnitude has never passed. The portal was removed, including the cement beams. We lost the entire roof of the house. He knocked down all the bushes”
“Half of the roof of the house had been taken at that time. After the center of the hurricane came out, the winds finished destroying the entire roof.”
“When Ian's strongest winds, my room looked like a shelter: my bed, my niece's and my girl's, the three of us stuck in there. We all looked out the windows and screamed nonstop.”
“My girl wanted to see a cyclone, but then she changed her mind. He told me: 'Mima, this is terrible, it looks like a ferocious animal.' Neither of us definitely want to experience another night like this.”
“I still can't get over this. The only thing that consoles me is that I look to the side and see my children alive.”