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by Walter Lippmann
Sunday, Jul. 10, 2005 at 12:17 PM
"Dennis The Menace", the worst hurricane to hit the island of Cuba since the 1940s, has departed leaving ten dead and lots of reconstruction work which has now begun. Find links to more reports and how to access the Cuban media to keep up with developments in Cuba
COMMUNICATIONS RESTORED WITH HURRICANE-BATTERED CUBA
by Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
Telephone communications with Cuba are working fine. Radio services are working as well. In addition can watch and hear reports on the island's international television broadcasting service, Cubavision International.
My experience is that the video quality sometimes works better if you don't blow the image up to full-screen size. Reception is intermittent at times, but it's something to see. The sound is more consistent than the video track. Windows Media Player needed http://www.cubavision.cubaweb.cu/tv_cubana.asx
Spanish-speakers, or those who want to learn or improve theirs can tune in to Radio Reloj, the 24-7 news service which has been operating for 58 years. It's working just fine. They continue as always with local and international reporting: http://www.radioreloj.cu/
I reached four friends this morning without difficulty. Three tell me they have no electricity, water or gas, but that the electricity was turned off last night at about 6 PM for safety's sake: so that no one would be electrocuted by fallen power lines. Once the lines are checked by workers from the electrical company, they will be turned on. This is expected at mid-day. Not sure about the gas and water. One of the four has an emergency bottle of gas. He was about to shower in cold water before going to work, but they realized he could use his emergency tank of gas to heat his water. 63,000 people were evacuated in Havana. Report from Cuba's National Information Agency (AIN) given below.
Here in Los Angeles I can certainly say we're very fortunate that our electrical system is working well. We rarely have blackouts here, and so if we were ever to have one which lasted more than a couple of hours, we'd be shocked and surprised. We'd be disoriented if it happened here. Cubans aren't shocked, though they aren't happy. They're glad the rain is now over and they expect to soon have their electricity restored. There's been a lot of water damage from what I'm hearing from friends.
This is where those wonderful little battery-operated radios everyone was buying last fall and earlier in the year are coming in very handy! These radios, made in China, have four bands: AM, two FM and TV, and are powered by solar, AA batteries, or a hand-operated crank if nothing else is available, make it possible to maintain communications in case of an emergency situation, such as this hurricane. Of course such radios would also be good in the event of a non-natural emergency as well... They cost .00 and were the hottest selling item in Cuba when they were in stock. You see people with them wherever you go: parking lot attendants, people at home fixing cars or doing whatever. They're wonderful little devices.
Here's the weather map where you can see that the hurricane has moved off the island to the west: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge/byx_N0Z_lp.html
We love subscriptions, though we receive nothing from subscribers, since this service is free, but you don't need to even be subscribed to access the services of CubaNews. Anyone can always access the current thirty messages, use the search engine, or scroll backwards thirty messages at a time, using: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/messages
Nearly 63,000 Citizens were Evacuated in Havana
Havana, July 9 (AIN) The number of Havana citizens who were evacuated reached 62,908 since the early in the morning of Friday when a hurricane warning was issued faced with the imminent arrival of hurricane Dennis.
The head of the Provincial Evacuation Commission, Oneida Rosales del Toro, told reporters that 22,384 people evacuated themselves to neighbors' and relatives' homes, while another 40,554 were taken to safe places allocated by the Havana authorities.
The initiative reflects the high spirit of solidarity of the Cuban people, said del Toro, who noted that those evacuated are residents of coastal areas which are liable to flooding, or live near rivers or in houses that could partially or totally collapse in a hurricane.
Some of the evacuated people also live in high buildings where the strong winds could cause damage, said the official and added that some 510 shelters provide basic conditions to assist the evacuated people, and that included water, food and medical assistence.
Major evacuations took place in the Havana municipalities of Centro Habana, Arroyo Naranjo, Habana Vieja and 10 de Octubre.
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