Thursday, December 26, 2013

Downpours Emphasize the Chaos

Downpours Emphasize the Chaos / Martha Beatriz Roque
Posted on December 26, 2013

HAVANA, Cuba, December 2013, . It's frightening the
number of housing collapses that have occurred in Havana, up to the end
of November and in the first days of December. Officially, there have
been 227 collapses, including 26 which were total and the rest partial.
627 individual families have been affected. They haven't listed the
localities where they occurred, to enable one to check the accuracy of
the figures, and whether those identified by human rights organisations
are included in the official government report.

In most of the neighbourhoods of the capital, including Miramar, which
is crossed by 5th Avenue, the sewage system doesn't work. When there is
a downpour, the streets flood and the traffic is affected. But the
drains appear so clogged as if they were cemented up, and some houses at
a higher level also flood, because the gutters in the roofs have no way
to run out onto the streets.

There are streets which remain full of mud and debris. That makes
getting about difficult, including on the pavements, which are already
affected by trees, whose roots break the concrete and form potholes
which make it difficult to pass. In some municipalities like Centro
Habana, Habana Vieja and Diez de Octubre it is dangerous to pass down
the streets because the balconies are at risk of collapse, and the
buildings too.

Given such government apathy, most of the streets have dumpsters crammed
full and overflowing, with great mountains of solid rubbish. The divers,
which is what they calll the people who rummage in the dustbins, spill
the rubbish and the surroundings are converted into focal points for
possible disease. And when it rains, like in recent days, this trash
flows down the streets with the water.

Although you don't see cats in public spaces, because they end up as the
main course on the dining table of the Cuban poor, the dogs are all over
the place, covered in scabies, near food shops. They also enter into
some shops and annoy the customers.

The bicycle taxis go the wrong way along the streets, especially in
Central Havana, endangering the lives of passers-by. The mobile
salespeople also, in accordance with their custom, move their carts
along different streets, and park them on any corner, dumping the waste
from their sales. Both situations produce problems when it rains.

It's very hard to find a public toilet in the city. If there is one,
there is someone there who charges for its use, and because of that many
people have used rubbish bins on the corners, out-of-the way columns,
and other uninhabited places, as toilets. Even worse, those that have
some sort of shelter, because they have walls, have been converted into
accommodation for sexual acts.

The water falling washes away substantial quantities of urine and
excrement from those sites.

The list of problems is endless, but the most unbearable is that there
won't be a solution, not even with the 10 million guidelines of the
Cuban communist party, because solving the problems requires financial
resources and political will, and both things are absent in the
government's programmes.

18 December 2013

Translated by GH

Source: "Downpours Emphasize the Chaos / Martha Beatriz Roque |
Translating Cuba" -

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