Cuba Politics

Hurricane Charley Leaves Cuba $1 Billion Bill

Posted August 25, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Politics.


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.

Member Comments

On August 29, 2004, Ralph wrote:

  That is very sad,the governments of the Caribbean sea,should
  have created a regional body to assist in this natural di—
  saster,which forever we have to face in our region.Sometimes
  is dominica or other country the most affected,so that body
  could help any country.Charley hit more Florida,but western
  CUBA was severely hit by charley,who is unwelcome in any place.I have to say that the cuban plan in natural disaster
  situation is very good,that’ why the human losses toll is
  very small,and in the recuperation program Cuba is devoted,
  and despite the economical straits,the normalcy is coming
  again to the affected areas.-