Friday, November 02, 2007

Heavy rain in eastern Cuba

Granma International

Havana. November 1, 2007

In the aftermath of Noel


THE evacuation of some 1,800 people, the suspension of flights during almost the entire day and the continuous monitoring of reservoir capacities almost 99% full are among the measures taken in Santiago de Cuba as a result of the intense and unrelenting rain.

In Guantánamo the Pozo Azul reservoir in the Caujerí valley was spilling yesterday for the first time since its construction 24 years ago. As of Wednesday morning, the province had reported 516.9 millimeters of rain in October, almost 300% more than the record amount for the month, 187.7 millimeters.

Strong gusts of wind buffeted the city of Holguín during the afternoon, where significant rainfall fell between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in areas such as Marcané (310 millimeters), Cueto (277), Tacajó (206,5), Barajagua (191), Deleyte (153), Sabanilla (145) and Birán (118), all located in the central part of the province. In the eastern mountainous region, rainfall of more than 100 mm was reported in Pinares de Mayarí (Mayarí) and Naranjo Agrio (Sagua de Tánamo) where the coffee harvest has been significantly compromised.

In Las Tunas the persistent rains yesterday of more than 100 millimeters, up to 200 in some places within the province, required the cooperation of Civil Defense, community organizations and the population to evacuate more than 9,000 from areas affected or threatened by flooding as a result of overflowing rivers and reservoirs.

In Granma, according to authorities within the municipalities of Pilón, Media Luna, Campechuela, Bartolomé Masó, Buey Arriba and Guisa, since Tuesday precipitation has increased in the mountains and fell practically without pause during the night. On El Mamey hill, in Pilón, 115 millimeters were reported in 12 hours, through 6.oo am Wednesday and significant downpours also occurred in Minas del Frío, Santo Domingo, San Lorenzo, El Oro, Colón and other locations.

Special attention in Sancti Spíritus is being paid to the condition of the province’s reservoirs, with the highest capacity in the country, which are holding 963 million cubic meters of water, 76% of the average. The Zaza reservoir is holding 733 million cubic meters, only 72% of its capacity, as a result of a preventative release of water to allow for a possible high volume input in the event of heavy rains.

Our correspondents’ dispatches all indicate that the timely measures taken by Civil Defense have prevented greater damage.

(Reports by José Antonio Torres, Jorge Luis Merencio, Alexis Rojas and AIN)

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