The category 4 Hurricane Gustav with 150 mph winds, which crossed Cuba on August 30, caused the greatest damage in Pinar de Rio. According to official reports, winds from the hurricane had occasional gusts of up to 212 mph.
So far only 19 hurt and injured have been reported, none seriously, that left in its wake the hurricane Gustav, according to official sources. Five fishermen who were missing since August 28 were found and rescued. The Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) had expressed concern that there has been no report by the authorities of the disappearance. Relatives of Jesus Valier reported his disappearance in the river Toa, Guantanamo, Sunday, August 31 after heavy rains provoked by hurricane Gustav in areas of the country's eastern region. In the official reports, no disappearances were reported.
It is unbelievable that there haven’t been fatalities due to accidents as a result of the hurricane, which is in contrasts with the 96 fatalities reported in the other Caribbean countries hit by Gustav.
Hurricane Gustav totally or partially destroyed 140,000 homes on Saturday August 30th in the western province of Pinar del Rio, 370 schools, hundreds of kilometers of electrical and telephone lines and destroyed many crops.
The category 2 Hurricane Ike with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph crossed Cuba from east to west during September 8 to 10. More than 200,000 structures were damaged by the hurricane, of which the official media reported 30,000 as total collapse. Experts affirm that at least 70 percent of the dwellings of Havana are in a precarious state.
So far there have been reported 7 deaths caused by Hurricane Ike. The official newspaper Granma reported that “the loss of seven lives ... not only were the direct result of the effects of Ike, but the lack of strict enforcement of the measures oriented by the system of Civil Defense.” The cynicism of the tyranny knows no bounds in attributing the occurrence of the deaths were due to the irresponsibility of the victims.
The regime has estimated the losses caused by hurricanes Dennis and Gustav at $ 5 billion dollars. Non-governmental sources estimated the losses at $ 10 billion dollars.
The U.S. government reiterated its offer of aid to Cuba on September 10. “The Cuban government rejected on September 6 our initial offer to send a team to assess damage caused by Hurricane 'Gustav', but our proposal still stands after Hurricane 'Ike'”, explained the State Department in a press release.
The regime criticized it, claiming that the assessment team was an unnecessary pretext and requested a temporary lifting of the embargo. The Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez explained that lifting the embargo, even temporarily, requires congressional approval.
On September 15, the U.S. government disclosed that the Cuban government rejected $5 million dollars to assist victims of the hurricanes, despite eliminating the requirement to send an assessment team.
September 17 in the "Reflections of Fidel", the official response of the regime noted that what the country really needed was the approval of credits to purchase building materials.
The Cuban regime has not responded to the latest unconditional free offer from
“It's hard to understand -- hard -- how they put politics ahead of suffering,”' U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in a phone interview with The Miami Herald on Monday September 22. The regime has rejected three previous offers, and has not responded to the latest. United States is the first supplier of food and humane aid to Cuba and number two in sending money.
On September 24, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the inclusion of $ 100 million to help victims of hurricanes and reconstruction assistance to Haiti and other Caribbean nations. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has allocated $30 million in emergency aid to Haiti so far. For sure the help that it had been assigned to Cuba would be much more than the $ 30 million earmarked for Haiti, since the United States would speed up, during a period of 90 days, the processing of applications for assistance.
Castro estimated at $ 1,400 million the losses caused by the category 3 hurricane Dennis which crossed Cuba on July 8, 2005, and damaged more than 120,000 dwellings. The swellings of the rivers exceeded those that occurred during hurricane Flora.
A university professor and researcher of the economic sector admitted to the The New Herald that “the disaster estimates seem incomplete in consideration with the images views”
Despite the magnitude of the disaster, Castro said he doesn’t accept any help offered by
The United States thanked but turned down Cuba's offer to send about 1,600 doctors to tend to Hurricane Katrina victims because enough American doctors have volunteered to take care of the victims.
Hurricane Flora caused havoc in Cuba. According to the Government statement 100 deaths were reported. Periódico Revolución, October of 1963.
Flora caused near 1,000 deaths. Speech by Fidel Castro May 27, 1969.
Hurricane Flora devastates Cuba: 1,159 corpses and numerous damages. Elmundo.com,
A monument to remember the victims of Hurricane Flora, which killed more than
The most deadly, however, was Flora in 1963, which left nearly 2,000 killed by the floods that occurred in the east of the island. Havana, September 13, 2004 (EFE).
How many years must pass to really know the material losses and loss of human lives caused by the other hurricanes? The day is not far away when we can verify the veracity of these statistics.
* Humberto (Bert) Corzo was born in Cuba. In 1962 he graduated from University of Havana with a degree in Civil Engineering. Since coming to the United States in 1969, he established his residence in Los Angeles, California, where in 1972 he obtained the registration as a Professional Engineer. He has over forty five years of experience in the field of Structural Engineering. He is a Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers.