Tuesday, September 09, 2008

After Gustav, Ike. (UPDATED)

We're worried sick and watching closely as Hurricane Ike pounds hell out of Cuba for the second time, having already ravaged Holguin province and the southeast end of the island.

This, on the heels of Gustav, which the country managed to weather with significant damage but no deaths. Ike has already claimed 4 lives, in spite of the country's outstanding evacuation strategy and record of protecting people and property in storms. (You can do stuff like that good when you're a socialistic dictatorship.)

We've visited both areas of the country hardest-hit by this hurricane. We know people who live there - although it's impossible to get any information, everything is down or out (not unlike Cuba's communications in normal circumstances, just more uniform). It's hard to imagine the people there losing the very little that they have. They work so hard to maintain their tidy little homes and apartments in the face of the embargo and the poverty. They take such pride in their homes and tend their gardens and care for their cars so carefully. It just breaks my heart to think of those things being ripped to pieces.

UPDATE: Oh, gosh. It's as bad as we feared. We saw the crumbling architecture of Havana when we were there in March. We worried to each other that many of those buildings wouldn't stand a hurricane. And they haven't.

ronnie

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6 Comments:

Blogger Xtreme English said...

what a horror! it just makes my blood boil that cuba, poor as it is, can take better care in hurricanes of mothers with infants than the U.S. would ever think of.

i don't suppose we'd be allowed to contribute to fixing anthe damage? pls let me know if you find a website for this.

and please accept my sympathy..fwgqtyn

12:08 a.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

and pardon my wacky laptop which is typing odd letters all over the place....

12:09 a.m.  
Anonymous Dann said...

"(You can do stuff like that good when you're a socialistic dictatorship.)"

Not having cities below sea level is probably another feature in their favor.

Regards,
Dann

10:06 a.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

I was watching with chills myself. Successive hits are awful - the first storm saturates and loosens the ground and weakens the manmade structures, then the second just whallops everything. It's still an island and with a monster storm there is NOwhere to go and few, if any, unaffected areas to absorb the displaced. Horrible things.

12:07 p.m.  
Blogger Brent McKee said...

Dann, many of the areas of New Orleans that suffered the worst flooding were above sea level, most notably the devestated Lower Ninth Ward.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wln_iq5bc8k

4:30 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

M.E., it's worth noting that the US offered help but the Cuban government turned it down, saying if they really wanted to help they should suspend the embargo. (Story in Granma in English here.) That might initially look extremely stupid, unless you understand how much face the Cuban government would lose by accepting the aid without conditions. The single most powerful source of popular support for the government and unity of the people is the shared resentment of the embargo.

The article says that Barak Obama has asked that the embargo be lifted for at least 90 days in light of the hurricane but I haven't looked around to confirm that with other sources.

I don't know if the International Red Cross or anyone will be working there. I'm going to poke around as I'm interested in donating myself if possible.

Other posters, thanks for your thoughts... Dann, I should've added that in Cuba, a mandatory evacuation is a mandatory evacuation...!

Husband sent me an article last week about their impressive evacuation and response system (which includes moving your few appliances and electronics out of your home and locking them up in a central location under armed guard so looting doesn't happen) but I can't find it. If I can find it I'll post a link.

ronnie

7:25 p.m.  

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