Castro says 3 hurricanes wiped out 500,000 homes, causing $10 billion in destruction
HAVANA -- The province of Pinar del Rio, affected by two of the three hurricanes that battered Cuba in recent months, has already repaired damage to more than 14,200 houses and provided temporary accommodations for 14,000 families, but still has a deficit of 98,560 homes, the Communist Party daily Granma reported Monday.
"That means that half of the population of Pinar del Rio today is without permanent homes," the paper said in its report of a recent meeting of local leaders in that western province of 730,000 inhabitants.
Damage caused by hurricanes dating back to 2002 in that part of the island have contributed to the housing deficit, Granma reported.
The daily said the damage to buildings in Pinar del Rio "includes 28,818 total collapses" caused by Hurricane Gustav, which devastated Cuba's extreme west on Aug. 30, and Hurricane Ike, which crossed the island from east to west between Sept. 7-9.
However, among those people who lost their houses only a little more than 200 are still living in shelters, according to provincial Communist Party leaders, who have urged local inhabitants to trust that resources will go where they are most needed.
Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma, which swept over the eastern part of the island on Nov. 8, totally or partially destroyed more than a half-million homes and - according to estimates provided last week by President Raul Castro - caused roughly $10 billion in damage. EFE