Just nine years since the province was hit hard by Hurricane Ike, this September 8, another storm tested the capacity of the people and institutions to overcome adversity and emerge successfully from a difficult challenge.
While the force of Irma (a name that will not soon be forgotten) was felt throughout the province, even on the southern beaches, suffering the greatest damage were the municipalities of Esmeralda, Sierra de Cubitas, Minas and Nuevitas, located on the northern coastline.
Hit by powerful winds and heavy rain, the storm turned upside-down the peaceful lives of more than 50 coastal and farming communities, in what seemed to be a nefarious contest to see which ones would face the most damage to housing, infrastructure, and crops.
Nevertheless, if Irma's devastation was meted out rapidly, the response of municipal and provincial authorities has been much more timely and effective, mobilizing the human and material resources needed to face the arduous, complex task of recovery.
Coming from every corner of Camagüey and other sister provinces were thousands of workers and soldiers, organized in mixed brigades as directed by
the National Defense Council's President, Army General Raúl Castro, to immediately join the clean-up, clearing roads, and reestablishing electrical, communications, and water services for the population.
Simultaneously, throughout the province a giant construction effort was unleashed, involving hundreds of workers and farmers, guided by the premise that every house and institutional building rebuilt or repaired would emerge in better conditions than those existing before the hurricane.
The same has happened in the historic settlement of Jaronú, a National Monument, and in more remote communities like Puerto Piloto, La Gloria, Lugareño, Palma City, Lombillo, Moscú and Jiquí… to mention a only a few that have received solidarity and support as they face the pain of their losses.
Barely four months have passed, and the panorama is now a different one. The images of destruction and despair have given way to hope and the firm conviction that only with the efforts of all can such a challenge be met, and without abandoning the province's aspirations for development.
FACTS & FIGURES
Residents evacuated: 158,110
43,689 homes were damaged, including total or partial collapses and total or partial loss of roofs, of which 9,449 have been repaired to date, representing 22%.
880 rustic homes have been built, while others are being constructed using cement blocks, masonry, sawn wood, through the Sandino system or the adaptation of existing premises.
290,018 residential, commercial, industrial services damaged, now 100% reestablished.
121 facilities affected, 113 repaired or rebuilt, representing 93.3%
297 damages, 222 repaired or rebuilt, representing 74.7%
100% of basic telephone services were repaired, representing 14,941 telephone lines.
Repaired and reinstalled were the transmissions towers of Tagarro, in the city of Camagüey, and Brasil in the municipality of Esmeralda.
Damages to 57 facilities, 100% of which have been repaired.
All hotel facilities at the Santa Lucía resort and in the city of Camagüey are fully operational.
11,486 hectares damaged, 7,303 recovered
1,426 facilities and pieces of equipment damaged, 78% repaired
Of the seven damaged mills, five have been repaired.
131,114 hectares of sugar cane were flattened.
13,223 hectares of flooded sugar cane fields have been drained.