Hurricane Charley caused more than $1 billion in damage to Havana and its surrounding provinces when it roared through western Cuba on Aug. 13, killing four people, a leader of the ruling Communist Party said on Wednesday.
The storm demolished 4,177 houses and damaged almost 70,000 other homes, Politburo member Pedro Saez said in comments published by Cuban newspapers Granma and Rebel Youth.
Charley has been nicknamed the “lumberjack” hurricane because its 105 mph (169 kph) winds uprooted or snapped more than 8,000 trees in Havana, and destroyed 300 hectares (7,400 acres) of tree plantations outside the city, he said.
It was the worst storm to hit Cuba since Hurricane Michelle in 2001 plowed through the center of the island in 2001, leaving 200,000 homeless and $1.8 billion in damages.
Saez, the party’s first secretary for Havana, said Charley’s most painful impact was to leave 2 million inhabitants without water for days on end because pumping facilities had no power.
Large parts of the city’s westside, as well as Havana and Pinar del Rio provinces had no electricity for 11 days due to the downing of 28 high-voltage towers from a power plant in Mariel.
Some 23,000 hectares (56,800 acres) of bananas, citrus and other fruit were flattened in Havana province, where cattle, chicken and pig farms were badly damaged.
Cuba rejected an offer of $50,000 in aid made by the State Department, calling the amount a “ridiculous and humiliating charity.”
A government statement issued on Sunday called the U.S. gesture “hypocritical” in view of the economic sanctions Washington has maintained against Cuba for four decades.