Sunday, November 23, 2008

Storm-Wracked Cuba Has Huge Housing Deficit

Storm-Wracked Cuba Has Huge Housing Deficit
Castro says 3 hurricanes wiped out 500,000 homes, causing $10 billion in

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

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