All Of Cuba Left Without Power After Hurricane Ian— Authorities Say Bringing Back Electricity Will Be Slow
As reported by CNN, the hurricane hit southwest of La Coloma in the province of Pinar del Rio on Tuesday morning, crashing in with a category three. With forecasts predicting 16 inches of rain, mudslides, and flash flooding, more than 38,000 residents in Pinar del Rio were evacuated from the area.
Still, at least two Cuban residents died during the storm, as confirmed by Yamilé Ramos Cordero in The Wshington Post, president of the Provincial Defense Council of Pinar del Río. A woman in San Luis died from a wall falling in her home during the hurricane, while a man died when a roof collapsed on him.
The hurricane caused serious damages to the area’s buildings and infrastructure, particularly in the island’s western region, and wiped out power across the entire country. According to Washington Post, Cuban authorities first reported that 1 million Cuban people had lost power, but that number quickly changed to more than 11 million people— the island’s entire population.
Cuban resident and farm owner Hirochi Robaina explained to NPR that the hurricane was “apocalyptic, a real disaster.” Meanwhile, another resident described how her roof was torn down by the storm: “We couldn’t rescue our things, we just ran outside.”
State Media explained that the process of restoring power to the west was “complex” because a significant part of the transmission network had broken down, making it harder to bring power back. They warned that while electricty should be back quicker in the east, the process will be slower on the island’s western region.
In the meantime, family members of Cuban residents are left at a standstill not being able to get in contact with their loved ones. Among these people are activists and TikTokers Yoel and Mari who posted a video talking about Hurricane Ian’s effects on the island.
In the video, TikToker Mari describes how they have still not been able to get in touch with their family who lives in Pinar del Rio as she shows images of a completely dark island, except for a little spot on the north.
While it hasn’t been confirmed by any major outlets, the TikToker alleged that tourist hot spot Varadero retained electricity while the rest of the island is still struggling through the power outage while showing images of that part of the island iluminated in yellow.
Crews began to work on bringing back power Wednesday morning. As per CNN, Cuba’s National Electric System purposefully turned off power in Havana for safety reasons, but the rest of the island’s power outages were caused by the severe hurricane conditions.
The outlet reports that Cuba has experienced power outages “all summer,” due to the economic crisis the island was already facing before the hurricaine hit.