'Nobody came': Cubans abandoned to Irma as Havana floods
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'Nobody came': Cubans abandoned to Irma as Havana floods
THE GUARDIAN
Posted on: September 13th 2017
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© THE GUARDIAN

Havana was in midnight darkness and the floodwaters were neck-high were Yanelis Rodríguez finally gave up hope that help was on its way.

As giant waves crashed over the Malecón seawall just 200m away, Rodríguez and her two young children waded through Hurricane Irma’s storm surge to safety.

“The winds started at four in the afternoon. We’d waited so long because we just assumed the government would come and help us,” she said. “We got out of the water and sheltered in a nearby building.”

It was a harrowing night: in the early hours of the morning an iron girder crashed down onto the roof above them. Yanelis ran into the street, before changing her mind and going back inside: it was too dangerous to seek refuge elsewhere.

Irma hit Cuba as a category 5 hurricane and barrelled through the central and western provinces, causing catastrophic destruction in a country that prides itself on disaster preparedness. At least 10 people died – Cuba’s worse hurricane death toll since Hurricane Dennis killed 16 in 2005.

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