HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 30 (ACN) The Council of Ministers, headed by President Miguel Diaz-Canel, reconvened on Tuesday evening to continue to assess the damage caused by the tornado that hit Havana on Sunday and coordinate the country's efforts for a rapid response.
It is necessary to shorten recovery times and have a lot of sensitivity in the treatment of the victims, said the president. Everything we rebuild, he said, has to be better, stronger and prettier than it was before.
According to Major General Ramón Pardo Guerra, head of the National Civil Defense Staff, the number of deaths due to the meteorological event remains at four. There are reports of 1,286 houses affected, of which 1,238 have already been visited. Total collapses are quantified at 123 and partial at 625.
With the passage of the tornado there were also 112 leaks of gas in the municipality of Diez de Octubre, which have already been solved.
Reynaldo Garcia Zapata, President of the Government in the capital, reported that have been enabled 14 offices of procedures for the purchase of construction materials, which will begin to be made available to the victims from Wednesday. Among these, he mentioned roof and window modules.
He confirmed that on Friday the municipalities of Guanabacoa and Regla should be completely cleared of debris, while Diez de Octubre, considered the most affected, will be ready for the weekend. To this end, work has been reinforced with brigades from the other territories of Havana and others from the provinces of Mayabeque, Artemisa, Matanzas, Pinar del Río and Cienfuegos. He also specified that young university students and members of the Hermanos Saíz Association have joined these tasks.
He recognized the role played by troops of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior have had in these tasks since the first moments.
Diaz-Canel pointed out that at the same time as the cleanliness, the felled trees must be replanted with species that restore the greenery and their roots do not damage the sidewalks.
Later, the Minister of Public Health, José Angel Portal Miranda, said that of the people injured as a result of the weather event, 74 remained in the hospital, of which 12 were in serious condition. With respect to the 196 patients evacuated from the Daughters of Galicia Maternity Hospital, on Tuesday afternoon the number of those who had been discharged from the hospital was 24.
Regarding the polyclinic in the municipality of Regla, Portal Miranda assured that the problem with the water supply has been solved and health services have begun to be provided. In addition, the medical assurances in this institution were reinforced and two ambulances were located for the evacuation of the cases that require it. So far," he pointed out, "there is no epidemiological situation.
Antonio Rodriguez Rodriguez, president of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources, commented that 873 damaged tanks are reported and more than a thousand are available for the population.
Meanwhile, work continues to restore electricity as quickly as possible to the more than 144,000 customers who remain without electricity, said Raul Garcia Barreiro, Minister of Energy and Mines. About 83% of the damage has already been solved, he said.
Among the alternative measures adopted to facilitate communications, Minister Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella, reported that 31 public telephones were enabled from which people can make free calls of up to three minutes. He stressed that after further clarifications is confirmed that the number of affectations amounts to more than 16 thousand telephone services.
The Minister of the Food Industry, Iris Quiñones Rojas, confirmed that it has been possible to continue the stable supply of flour to the bakeries; in addition it will begin to distribute canned fish.
Despite the fact that 11 grocery stores were affected, the sale of the standard family basket began without difficulties, said the Minister of Domestic Trade, Betsy Díaz Velázquez. As an extraordinary fact reported that this Tuesday was detected price violation in one of the products sold in the tents set up for the sale of food to the population in areas damaged by the tornado. Those responsible for the infraction were arrested and will be subject to penalties, she said.
The Minister of Agriculture, Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, said that the sale of egg is maintained in the affected municipalities and from Friday will begin to distribute potatos. The Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, noted that international organizations such as the World Food Program, the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Children's Fund have offered donations of rice, beans, tarpaulins for roofs, water tanks and educational and recreational materials for children, all products that are already in Cuba.
Regarding offers of help, both from countries and individuals, he said that the country has established a mechanism for this and should be coordinated through MINCEX.
Eduardo Rodriguez Davila, Minister of Transportation, said that all services have been gradually restored and is working on the recovery of the vehicles that suffered breakdowns with the passage of the tornado.