Six months after Hurricane Ian left a trail of devastation in western Cuba, reconstruction work in the hardest-hit province of Pinar del Río is progressing only slowly. As the news agency ACN reports, only 21,000 of 76,000 damaged roofs have been repaired so far, about 28 percent. In total, 102,000 buildings in the province have been affected by the storm damage.
The provincial director of housing in Pinar del Río, Andrés Martín Carmona, blamed the slow reconstruction on the shortage of building materials such as walls, roofing elements and cement, as well as the lack of labor. Especially in the small community of Vueltabajo, known for its excellent tobacco, there are still large backlogs. 2000 new residential buildings are to be erected there by the end of the year, of which only 170 have been completed so far.
To compensate for the shortage of cement, less durable adobe bricks are said to be produced in some areas as an alternative for house construction, although these too are not available in sufficient numbers.
All 11 municipalities in the province have been affected by Hurricane Ian. The greatest progress in reconstruction has been made in the tourist resort of Viñales, the provincial capital of Pinar del Río, and the municipality of Consolación del Sur, while San Luis and San Juan y Martínez are still heavily marked by storm damage.
The storm made landfall on September 27 as a Category 3 of 5 hurricane with winds of up to 218 kilometers per hour. Five people were killed. More than 50,000 residents were evacuated in advance by the Cuban Civil Defense.
This article was first published on Cuba Heute, a German-language news portal.