Photo: Ismael Francisco

When Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cuban soil on the night of Friday, September 8, 2017, in the eastern part of Cayo Romano, north of Camagüey, it entered the short list of category 5 hurricanes to have directly hit the country, joined by those of October 1846, October 1924, November 1932, and Hurricane Fox, in October 1952.

The devastating effects of the hurricane were felt in more than half of the provinces of Cuba. Many were affected by sea flooding, strong winds and the that it left in its path. There was extensive material damage and the unfortunate loss of ten lives, even though more than 1.8 million people had been evacuated.

As experts highlighted, Irma set an absolute record by remaining a category 5 hurricane for almost 72 consecutive hours.

The weather phenomenon caused severe coastal flooding, strong winds and heavy rains, mainly in the northern part of the island, from Camagüey to Artemisa.

The worst affected provinces were Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Sancti Spíritus and Villa Clara. Other territories such as Guantanamo, Holguín, Las Tunas, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Mayabeque and Havana, also suffered extensive damages.

But following the passage of Irma came another huge hurricane, that of the recovery efforts, and the help that sprung up all around, both within the island itself and also across seas, to once again offer the solidarity to rebuild the country.

Granma International offers readers a special series that addresses the current situation in the hardest hit provinces, identifying how much remains to be done and recognizing the colossal feat achieved thus far.