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Posted November 29, 2005 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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Wilma caused multi-million dollar losses in Cuba

CUBA reported that the total damages caused by the effects of Hurricane Wilma in the country are estimated at $704.2 million, including prevention and recovery measures.

That figure also includes losses in production and services halted for the six days of the different stages of hurricane warnings (informative, alert, and alarm) decreed by the Civil Defense during October 16-26.

After leaving a desolate panorama in its wake over the Yucatan peninsula and all of the Mexican Caribbean, Wilma followed a route very close to Cuba’s northwestern coasts.

It brought unprecedented coastal flooding to the provinces of Pinar del Ro, Havana and City of Havana during October 23, 24 and 25.

In an article in today’s Granma daily, it is reported that leading up to Wilma’s arrival, 760,168 people were evacuated, with 534,865 taking shelter in the homes of relatives or neighbors and the rest in previously prepared shelters. That measure prevented the loss of human lives.

Housing suffered the worst damage, with 7,589 damaged, with 446 of them totally destroyed and 6,000 suffering partial collapse.

In agriculture, diverse crops, coffee and the tobacco infrastructure of Pinar del Ro were hit the worst; the latter saw almost 2,000 sheds were destroyed and the production of 54,000 seedbeds was lost.

Platform fishing, lumber and honey production, as well as transportation and construction, were all affected directly by Wilma or as a consequence of activities that were suspended.

In the electricity sector, the hardest-hit on the island by hurricanes, there were breakdowns in the four western provinces that received the greatest impact from Wilma (Pinar del Ro, Havana, City of Havana and Matanzas).

This service was considerably affected in City of Havana (17 MW) due to flooding of the underground network in the city’s western section as a consequence of coastal flooding.

In inundated areas, it was necessary to wait for the sea to subside to be able to evaluate and repair damages and restore electric power.

Despite the days of tension, all measures were adopted throughout the country necessary for guaranteeing medical and other services for the population, such as water supply and basic family food basket items.

Wilma, however, did contribute water through the heavy rains that it brought, which improved the water supply system after an intense drought of more than two years. (PL)

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