Construction materials for repairs have begun to reach sales outlets. Photo: Endrys Correa Vaillant

The presence of a powerful technical workforce trained by the Revolution continues to expand in recovery efforts from extensive damage caused by the tornado. By January 30, to the extent that the clean-up had advanced - downed poles, electrical and telephone lines, and transformers returned to their original locations - the evaluation of housing has been able to move forward.

Regulars in these latest efforts are architect María Lissette Polo Vilató and civil construction technician Juan Francisco González Rodríguez, leading two of the three work groups which the City of Havana Design Enterprise (DCH) has organized to assist the capital’s municipalities.

Following a preliminary tour of several affected areas, they assumed one of the most pressing tasks: the development of projects to adapt existing buildings, and build new ones, to provide temporary and permanent housing for families who lost their homes.

They have extensive experience in such efforts, given that the entity’s professional and technical staff have designed the remodeling of almost 90% of the facilities serving as temporary or permanent housing for those in need across the entire city.

María Lissette reported that, in Regla, three lots have already been identified where buildings for 30 apartments can be built, and two other areas are being evaluated, while noting that, at this stage, specialists from municipal physical planning and housing departments are also involved.

Meanwhile, in the neighborhood of Serafines, between Rabí Street and Diez de Octubre Avenue, building work is underway, with the participation of residents, to erect ten dwellings, with the option of further expanding the project as needed.

Also in this area, work is rapidly advancing on the adaptation of a former rest home to provide 60 dwellings, where the first steps were taken on January 31 -just three days after the tornado - by construction workers from the Local Administration Construction Enterprise Group (Gecal).

The experts interviewed agreed that other institutions, along with the DCH, have gained experience in dealing with damage to housing stock as a result of extreme weather events, since those charged with evaluating such situations are supported, at these times, by experienced and youthful reinforcements, since all help is needed.

Thus, the streets of affected municipalities have become a beehive of dissimilar activities, all vitally important. Architecture and Engineering students from the José Antonio Echeverría University (Cujae) walk back and forth, visiting victims to continue the evaluation of damage to dwellings and prepare technical reports that include the list of materials required for repairs - a document that must be presented at processing offices to acquire these resources, in accordance with each family’s approved payment plan: full or partial subsidy, credit, and/or cash.Members of the National Union of Architects and Construction Engineers of Cuba support the drafting of technical reports by community architects, who evaluate partial and total collapses, in which their knowledge of the neighborhood is decisive, to accurately determine the characteristics of a building before the tornado.During the technical staff’s work, one element emphasized in meetings of the Provincial Defense Council is always observed: evaluating damages case by case, since the resources to be delivered cannot be standardized based on a given type of construction.


At the ministerial level, prioritized is the identification and transfer of underutilized buildings for their adaptation, to contribute to alleviating the housing situation created by the tornado, while during a January 30 meeting of the Provincial Defense Council, Reinaldo García Zapata, president of Havana’s Provincial Assembly of People’s Power, emphasized that municipal governments must “comb” neighborhoods and report buildings in disuse, to facilitate a rapid response and solutions for affected families.

Specialists at the Ministry of Domestic Commerce told Granma International that in the province of Havana, five construction materials outlets have been set up in the affected municipalities.

Beginning January 30, deliveries were made of the following materials, among others: rebar, sand, bagged cement, metal roofing sheets, purlings (metal beams), fibrocement sheets, galvanized doors (interior and exterior), and plastic water tanks.



Calle 10 de Octubre 61, between Tenería and Calzada de Regla.
The Municipal Administrative Council’s parking lot has been set up as a sales point to provide resources closer to areas with the most damage.


Maceo, between Versalles and Padilla Streets.

Diez de Octubre:

Calle Armas 464, between B and C.
Calle Luco at the corner of Villa Nueva, Luyanó.
In the case of this municipality, another sales point is under consideration.


The first 50 covered water tanks, as part of a special order of 600, were delivered to affected Havana municipalities by the Armando Mestre Martínez Fibrocement Factory in Santiago. Affiliated with the Perdurit Fibrocement Enterprise, and the only shop of its kind currently operating in the country, the factory’s delivery included 22 500-gallon tanks, 12 with a 300-gallon capacity, and 16 100-gallon tanks, thus raising to 169 the total supplied to the capital thus far this year.
Plant manager Ruperto Árias Palú told Granma International that conditions have been created, raw materials are available, and experienced personnel on hand, to fill the order within a month’s time, without affecting previous commitments.

Produced from a mixture of cement and fiber, and shaped inside and out by hand, last year 8,666 tanks were delivered, surpassing the 7,900 planned, while given the extreme weather events that occurred during 2017, that year the plant fabricated a record 13,111 units.Regarding corrugated fiber cement sheets for roofing, Árias Palú added that last year more than 1,500,000 square meters were delivered, and that the Cuban capital could count on the Santiago plant to support the repair of entirely and partially damaged roofs.

- Community primary care staff, along with professors, medical students, and other public health workers, visited affected families to assess their physical and psychological condition, and provide supplies needed to treat newly developed conditions and illnesses previously diagnosed. - Workers and civil servants from other municipalities, secondary and university students, and members of the armed forces continue to provide support in affected areas.

- The highest leadership of the Party and government in the capital continue to insist that municipal processing offices speed up the issuing of technical reports, and the approval of subsidies and benefits.

- Personnel from Havana Water is available to advise anyone who needs help installing a water tank, sales of which began January 31.

- Working groups composed of leaders of political and mass organizations joined those assisting victims, in order to gather concerns, answer and process questions, as part of their political-ideological responsibility that must not be lacking in moments of hardship.