Havana woke up this Tuesday with the rains and winds that had been leaving Ian in Cuban territory for hours, but the people on the street seemed not to have realized that the hurricane that was coming upon them was of considerable intensity.
The food shortage in the capital was stronger than the threat of the cyclone. “Nothing prevents people from going out to queue for bread whatever it is,” said an elderly woman from Central Havana who the day before had not managed to buy a single loaf.
In this same neighborhood of the capital and in the rain, the street vendors did not stop promoting a few merchandise, mainly the cart drivers, who did not move from the corners without first dispatching some fruits and viands.
In other areas such as the Plaza de la Revolución municipality, the howling of the wind frightened the residents, especially when, in addition to the shocking noise caused by the force of the hurricane, they began to see how zinc tiles, palm leaves, pieces of plastic and some trees fell to the ground.
“There was such a strong and sustained gust that all of us, humans and pets, ran to hide and take shelter under the table,” says a young man from Nuevo Vedado.
Power outages began early in the morning and still keep much of the capital in the dark. The sound of sirens towards Centro Habana and Old Havana, two of the most populous municipalities and sunk in a great housing deterioration, was also not lacking. “I hear a siren, they are firefighters, I just saw them pass towards Reina Street. It must be due to some landslide,” a resident told this newspaper, startled by telephone.
And to the sound of the sirens and the wind, there was no shortage of people who recalled the severe economic crisis plaguing the Island, worse than a hurricane like Ian: “There is nothing here for these events: no tape to protect glass windows, no rechargeable lamps, no kerosene for ‘gossips’ or for burners, no candles,” a woman from Havana complained. “Well, we are riddled with dengue fever and there are no mosquito nets, what can we expect!”
In the afternoon hours, when the water and the air finally gave a truce, the disaster could be witnessed in the city. Tree after fallen tree, as well as roofs and facades, and the occasional piece of furniture that went flying, were the general picture.
In this part of western Cuba, “people are very upset by the delays in preparations and also by the caution of the first forecasts of the hurricane,” some reproached. “Just yesterday, several residents of El Vedado were surprised when we warned them about Ian.”
While in Florida, where Ian is headed this Tuesday night with increased intensity, the authorities have been preparing the population about the possible ravages of the storm since last week, on the island, where the cyclone has left Pinar del Río in the area of disaster, the Government’s messages in recent days were exclusively focused on the referendum on the Family Code, which entered into force this Wednesday. “A law passed by water”, ironize the Cubans in the street.
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