The new neighborhood of Seibabo, in Yaguajay, an example of quality and attention to detail in the recovery efforts. Photo: Vicente Brito

When the center of Irma settled over the northern keys of Sancti Spíritus at dawn on Saturday, September 9, the Cuban Meteorology Institute confirmed that at that time the most powerful and violent storm to have formed in the history of the Atlantic was unleashing hurricane force winds from the north of Las Tunas to Mayabeque.

The gales, which to some extent or another affected 12 provinces of the country and caused damages in excess of 13 billion pesos, also deeply impacted the geography of Sancti Spíritus, particularly affecting the real estate sector, power service, water supply, agriculture and communications.

Guards and managers at the Carbó pig production center note that when the winds finally died down, at around noon, they felt as if they had returned from hell. Those responsible for the Caguanes National Park spent weeks clearing rocks and retracing paths to reach the coast; the Zaza reservoir, which had been on the verge of completely drying up months before, began to be overwhelmed by the flooding; and Rosalba, a woman from the community of Victoria, still remembers the exact place where she left her sewing machine, television and bicycle, and where she lost them forever.

Stories regarding what came next, how an entire province mobilized to support morning, noon and night those who were most severely affected; to build collective solutions such as the new palm-board house neighborhood in Seibabo; to give encouragement and shelter; to multiply the loaves of bread and the roofing tiles; are yet to be written, but as long as the memories of those 12 hours of intense winds survive in the collective imagination, there will be no shortage of writing material.

Close to 13,000 residents of Sancti Spíritus have paid in cash at points of sale for the necessary materials to rebuild their homes. Photo: Vicente Brito
Photo: Vicente Brito

Data collected through December 28, 2017


Affected housing: 19,159 - 6,013 repaired

Total collapse: 1,917 - 167 repaired

Partial collapse: 1,647 - 47 repaired

Completely destroyed roofing: 1,768 - 735 repaired

Partially damaged roofing: 12,583 - 4,906 repaired

Damaged multifamily residential building: 288 - 36 repaired


How have Sancti Spíritus residents accessed construction materials?

Residents paying in cash for materials: 12,915

Residents granted low-interest, long-term loans: 3,158

Residents receiving subsidised materials: 615

Residents benefiting for social security discounts: 111

Major repairs to the water system:

San Juan de Letrán pipeline (Trinidad)

Pipeline to the neighborhood of Colón (Sancti Spíritus)

El Pedrero pipeline (Fomento)

Lebrije reservoir pipeline (Jatibonico)

Managuaco pipeline (Sancti Spíritus & Cabaiguán)

Camaján supply system (Yaguajay)

Repairs to communications infrastructure:

16,124 telephone lines

93 data services

382 damaged poles


Assistance for victims:

Management posts in Defense Zones: 76

Construction materials points of sale: 53

Total number of cases assisted: 19,159

Damages to state institutions:

Completely repaired

Food industry (local administration):

40 units

Ministry of the Food Industry: 28 units

Ministry of Industries: 33 centers

Ministry of Tourism: 25 facilities

Sugar Enterprise Group (Azcuba): 62 hectares


Partially repaired institutions

Health: 74 (of 80)

Education: 124 (of 137)

Sports: 36 (of 46)

Culture: 10 (of 11)

Commerce: 112 (of 119)

Transport: 143 (of 148)




National Freeway – Central Highway interchange (Taguasco)

Santa Lucía – El Pedrero Road (Cabaiguán-Fomento)

Los Tramojos – La Larga Road (Taguasco)

Access road to the town of Mapos (La Sierpe)

Ongoing repairs to affected roads:

Pedrero – Gavilanes section (Fomento)

Jobo 7 Road (Jatibonico)

Manaca – Condado railway section (Trinidad)