[Marxism] Radio Havana Cuba Editorial on Hurricane Wima: "Nature's Siege"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 25 19:12:35 MDT 2005

October 25, 2005
Radio Havana Cuba Editorial:

Nature's Siege

Despite being accustomed to facing frequent, dangerous tropical
storms, Cubans were uneasy as they spent a nerve-racking week waiting
for Hurricane Wilma to pass close by their shores. People were
especially nervous because during that same week, the island was also
accosted by tropical storm Alpha.

While Wilma battered the island's northwest section, Alpha obliged
residents in the east to take precautions against the possibility of
further rains. The dangers posed by Wilma and Alpha were magnified by
concerns that the land, already saturated by months of heavy rain
across the island, would be unable to hold any more water, since the
country's reservoirs were already overflowing. Just a short time ago
they had been half empty due to a prolonged drought.

As if that were nothing, Wilma caused heavy coastal flooding into
low-lying areas in western Cuba. Especially hard-hit was Havana's
famous Malecon seaside drive, whose ancient stone walls were battered
by enormous waves that filled the streets above.

Though the island's meteorologists had announced well-in-advance that
sea water would enter highly populated low-laying areas in Havana and
authorities evacuated hospitals and other public institutions, many
residents were surprised by the rapid flooding of the streets, the
likes of which hadn't been seen here since the "Storm of the Century"
in l993.

The rapid response of Ministry of the Interior and Armed Forces rescue
teams showed that Cuba is prepared to efficiently respond to the ever
more frequent tropical storms hitting the region. Evidence of this
organization are the more than 600 thousand Cubans evacuated in the
western part of the island, as part of a Civil Defense plan aimed at
reducing, and if possible, eliminating any loss of human life. If
towns like Isabel Rubio, in Pinar del Río province, had not been
evacuated, the rivers raising due to non-stop rains, would have
trapped residents.

In other cases, like in Mantua, also in Cuba's westernmost province,
70 percent of the residents were removed in an enormous effort,
because in Cuba evacuees are guaranteed in addition to a roof over
their heads, three meals a day and medical attention. The island's
care of its inhabitants in the face repeated hurricanes is a lesson in
the utility of the increased discipline exhibited by the population as
it complied with Civil Defense measures.

While in Florida thousands of people refused to leave their homes for
fear of the conditions they would find in shelters, in Cuba people go
willingly to evacuation centers because they know that their needs
will be met.

And, after the onslaught of destructive tropical hurricanes, the
evacuees return to their homes ready to begin the arduous task of
cleaning up and rebuilding what the storms have destroyed.

compiled by NY Transfer from http://www.radiohc.cu

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