Disasters & Accidents

Building collapse in Havana leaves at least one dead and others trapped in rubble

Havana, Oct 4 (EFE).- The collapse of an old building in Havana’s historic center Tuesday night left at least one rescuer dead and two people trapped in the rubble, state media reported Wednesday.

The mayor of the Old Havana district, Alexis Acosta, told the official Granma newspaper that the collapse occurred around 23:00 local time (03:00 GMT Wednesday) and affected a building that housed 13 families with a total of 54 people.

According to initial reconstructions of the events, a small initial collapse was followed by a second one two hours later, which trapped rescue team members and caused a female firefighter’s death.

According to Cuban Fire Chief Luis Carlos Guzmán, the two people who remain trapped are a resident of the building and a second firefighter.

Rescue efforts with a canine unit continued throughout the morning despite heavy rains, EFE reported from the scene.

The mayor added that the affected families were evacuated to a nearby school and that “there have been no evacuations of other adjacent buildings.”

Cuba’s housing problem Housing is one of the main socio-economic problems in Cuba, especially in Havana, the most populous province with 2.1 million inhabitants.

According to 2021 data cited by the official website Cubadebate, Havana has 185,348 buildings in poor condition, of which 83,878 require partial repair and 46,158 need a significant overhaul.

In addition, 43,854 homes are needed for victims of previous collapses living in government-run shelters, and another 11,458 homes are required because of the city’s growing population.

Cuba, a country of about 11 million people, has more than 3.9 million homes, of which 37% are in regular and poor technical condition, according to the 2021 figures of the General Housing Directorate.

According to official figures, the country needs about 20% more housing than it is currently building, with a deficit of about 800,000 homes.

The country’s housing stock is deteriorating due to a lack of materials and maintenance due to the country’s economic crisis, the economic embargo, and the scourge of natural disasters such as hurricanes. EFE


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