Photo: Ismael Batista

With no time to lose, the Havana Provincial Defense Council , met yesterday, September 8, to review the implementation of plans to confront the effects of Hurricane Irma in this part of the country, as coastal flooding is imminent and strong winds and rain are forecast.

After hearing the latest meteorological report, measures emphasized included

clearing storm sewers, pruning trees, monitoring rivers and streams, increasing public information, and assuring food supplies.

In terms of this last item, Party Political Bureau member and president of the Havana Provincial Defense Council, Mercedes López Acea, noted that although supplies are not meeting demand, some 15 to 18 products are available in produce markets and work is underway to secure 550 tons of food in warehouses, to assure stocks during the recovery period.

During the meeting - also attended by Political Bureau member, Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Army Corps General Leopoldo Cintra Frías - other actions reported were the acceleration of harvests and the protection of urban farms.

Luis Carlos Góngora, vice president of the Provincial Administrative Council in charge of distribution, reported that extra eggs and pork are being made available and stores will remain open until 11:00pm.

Additionally, 85 trucks and 44 tractors are working on the sanitization of the city, with an emphasis on the municipalities of Playa, La Habana del Este, Arroyo Naranjo, Diez de Octubre, Centro Habana and La Habana Vieja, the closest to the coastline.

Resources in healthcare centers are being safeguarded in areas prone to flooding and services are ensured for the population, reported Raidol García, provincial head of Public Health.

Likewise steps have been taken to ensure that all visitors lodged in hotels and private B&Bs are safe; while the city's network of hotels is ready to receive tourists evacuated from other provinces.

Plans are in place to receive residents who may need to be evacuated from their homes, with food, healthcare, and transportation to shelters ready.

López Acea called on all residents of the capital to maintain discipline, act prudently, and cooperate with authorities, in addition to complying with Civil Defense instructions in a responsible fashion, as quickly as possible.

Head of the National Civil Defense General Staff, Division General (R) Ramón Pardo Guerra, emphasized the importance of evaluating losses to determine the areas most affected, to begin work as soon as possible, once the recovery phase begins.