Thousands of trees and power poles uprooted and defeated against vehicles and homes. Raised roofs, broken glass everywhere. Uninhabitable homes, collapsed warehouses, flooded streets and fields, impassable, destroyed, were among some of the devastations left by Hurricane Ian, which in category 3, hit the island of Cuba.
“The damages are great, although they have not yet been accounted for. Aid is already pouring in from all over the country. Rest assured that we are going to recover,” Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who visited some of the most affected places, wrote on Twitter.
We were in #Pinewood of the river. The damage is great, although it has not yet been possible to account for it. Aid is already pouring in from all over the country. We trust the people of Pinar del Río, a noble, hard-working people with a lot of experience in these situations. Rest assured that we will recover. pic.twitter.com/zg5VNKA9sN
– Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) September 27, 2022
This Wednesday morning and when the hurricane was speeding towards southwest Florida, in the United States, after 18 hours of total blackout in Cuba, electricity began a slow return to Cuban circuits.
“Work is being done in all the municipalities that are affected by the western provinces” and a thorough review of lines is carried out “to determine and quantify the effects to start the process of restoring the system,” said the National Electric Union (UNE), a monopoly state of the sector.
According to the UNE, shortly after 5:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday, two high-voltage lines of the National Electric System (SEN) triggered their protection networks due to cables cut by the winds.
“This situation caused a power imbalance due to the excess generation in the western zone and the generation deficit in the central-eastern zone”, which caused instability between both zones and, consequently, the total failure of the electrical system, he explained.
Help from friendly countries
At noon on Wednesday, the start-up and gradual incorporation of the eight large thermoelectric plants and the generators that comprise the national electricity system began.
In this way, the restoration of the service began for a part of the consumers in 25 areas of Havana and 11 other provinces.
However, in the provinces of Pinar del Río, Artemisa and Mayabeque, the westernmost in the country and heavily affected by Ian’s passage, the restoration of service will take longer.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel made a tour to verify the damage in Pinar del Río and Havana on the ground, and announced the offer of help by the governments of Mexico and Venezuela.
“I received phone calls from the presidents @NicolasMaduro and @lopezobrador, concerned about the situation in the country after #HurricaneIan and ready to help,” Díaz-Canel reported on his Twitter account.
Bolivia also manifested itself. “We send all our solidarity to the sister country of Cuba (…) We closely follow the evolution of the damages,” he said on his side.
Ian, which hit Pinar del Río in the early hours of Tuesday, left a lot of destruction in that province and in Havana caused five total collapses and 68 partial collapses of residential buildings, the authorities reported. (YO)