This central Cuban province was among those worst affected by Hurricane Irma, with 246,000 people forced to evacuate. Despite the vast amount of destruction left in the wake of the storm, there was not a single fatality among Villa Clara residents.
As soon as the hurricane had passed, a frenzy of activity began to repair and rebuild the province, marked by countless stories of daily heroism. Today, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the local population, with the support of institutions and organizations from other territories, the province has been transformed, with improvements seen across many areas.
In just four months, over 15,400 - or 30% - of the 51,000 homes damaged by the storm have been repaired, while new houses are being built in communities across coastal areas such as the Emilio Córdova neighborhood in Encrucijada; Camajuaní in Aguada de Moya; Isabela de Sagua and la Nueva Isabela; Quemado de Güines in Caharatas, and Corralillo in La Panchita.
Local production of building materials in the province, including over three million blocks, more than 1,000 roofing sheets, 42,000 square meters of flooring, and over 7,000 water tanks to date, are providing residents with the resources they need to gradually repair the damage.
Agriculture is also on the mend, with Villa Clara constituting the largest producer of pork in the country at the end of 2017. With the exception of areas dedicated to growing potatoes, a wide variety of crops have been planted across all of the 12,000 hectares affected by the hurricane, including those featuring mechanized irrigation systems.
In addition, hotels located on the keys off Villa Clara’s northern coastline, as well as the 48 kilometer causeway connecting Caibarién to Cayo Santamaría, have regained their splendor.
Likewise, some 130 brigades of linesmen from nine provinces across the country helped return power to 99.6% of a total 315,000 clients just 18 days after the storm, which totally destroyed the province’s electricity grid.
Also talking place amidst all this activity were national acts attended by Army General and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Raúl Castro, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara, and 90 years since the birth of Abel Santamaría, who led the July 26, 1953 attack on the Moncada Garrison, alongside Fidel.
Government programs also continued alongside recovery works in Villa Clara, with the inauguration of new works benefiting the population, including the “Somos Jóvenes” youth club and Los Pilongos fairgrounds.
Coverage of the recovery process in the province was presented in the book Villa Clara: un huracán de recuperación, by the Capiro publishing house, which includes articles which attest to the commitment of a people whose ability to overcome difficulties and obstacles was recognized by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz.
FACTS AND FIGURES
- Housing with grade 1 damages: 583, with 90 repaired, representing 15.4%.
- Total collapse: 3,481, with 226 rebuilt, representing 6.5%.
- Partial collapse: 5,562, with 420 repaired, representing 7.5%.
- Roofing completely destroyed: 7,419, with 2,543 replaced, representing 34.2%.
- Roofing partially destroyed: 34,532, with 12,203 repaired, representing 35.3%.
- Total homes with damages: 51,577, with 15,482 repaired, representing 30%.
Damages to state institutions:
- Trade: 695, with 692 repaired, 3 pending, representing 99.6%.
- Azcuba: 204, with 172 repaired, 32 pending, representing 84.3%.
- Health: 267, with 211 repaired, 56 pending, representing 79%.
- Education: 414, with 318 repaired, 96 pending, representing 76.8%.
- Agriculture: 4,514, with 3,431 repaired, 1,083 pending, representing 76%.
- Food enterprise: 94, with 68 repaired, 26 pending, representing 72.3%.
- Transport: 50, with 34 repaired, 16 pending, representing 68%.
- Public services: 191, with 75 repaired, pending 116, representing 39.3%.
- Culture: 111, with 31 repaired, pending 80, representing 27.9%.
- Sport: 113, with 27 repaired, pending 86, representing 23.9%.
Assistance for those whose homes were damaged:
- A total of 32,332 people whose homes were damaged have acquired necessary construction materials at sales points, representing 63%.
- 50.9 million pesos have been allocated to provide subsidies to 1,075 affected home owners.
- Building materials worth 86,580,300,000 pesos have been sold to the population. Of these, 21,038,000,000 pesos were paid in cash, and 20,388,900,000 pesos through bank loans.
- State budgeted discounts to the cost of building materials for housing amount to over 43.2 million pesos.
- Roofing and joinery works were completed on 105 buildings.
Damage to roads of national interest:
The Cayo Santa María causeway: Suffered damages to 47 of its bridges, its breakwaters, esplanades, and 12 kilometers of metallic guard rails. All have been repaired and tourism activity resumed at the beginning of the high season.
Work is ongoing on other damaged highways:
- Manicaragua-Topes de Collantes
- Güinía de Miranda-Río Seibabo
- Güinía de Miranda-Fomento
- Manicaragua–Güinía de Miranda
- Circuito Norte between Vueltas and Aguada de Moya
- Sagua la Grande-Isabela
- Encrucijada- El Santo
- Bartolomé-Buena Vista
- Central Highway, Santo Domingo stretch