Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Sewer Waters’ Phantom Truck

The Sewer Waters' Phantom Truck / Gladys Linares
Posted on June 17, 2014

Many Havana streets barely have any pavement. The drains are clogged.
With the rains the overflowing sewers allow sewage out. They try to
justify these difficulties with the Special Period, everyone knows that
the neglect began in 1959.

Cubanet, HAVANA, Cuba, June 13, 2014 — We residents of the capital have
seen how the streets and avenues have been deteriorating for more than
50 years, arriving at the critical situation in which they are today.
Although roads are an expensive activity, and the government says it has
assigned millions to the rehabilitation of the capital's main arteries,
if a profound drainage restoration is not undertaken, the situation,
which is critical, the problem of the floods, as well as the sewer water
in our streets, will not be resolved.

The sewer system was designed for a certain number of residents, but
Havana's population has been growing by leaps and bounds, and this
creates difficulties. A few days ago through the media it was announced
that the government was engaged in improving the capital's pipeline system.

Barely two years ago the official media released a lot of propaganda
about the repair of the avenues, among them Calzada de Dolores, Lacret,
Porvenir, Diez de Octubre. But, as is already customary, these jobs were
not well done, and a few days ago it made headlines again that the
avenues already need new repairs.

Today many city streets are practically back roads, full of dirt,
because there is barely any pavement left. The drains are clogged, and
as the sewage system networks are not rehabilitated, when heavy rains
flood the streets, the overflowing sewers allow sewage waters to get
out. Although there is an effort to justify these problems with the
Special Period, everyone knows that the neglect dates from 1959.

Many Havana neighborhoods exemplify this reality. To just mention one,
in Santos Suarez, Diez de Octubre municipality, in Rabi and Enamorados
streets the situation is critical. But that is not the only place where
this occurs. Today Ricardo, a young man who lives on Lagueruela street
in Lawton, told me that his patio was full of dirty water that smelled
like a grave, and that as the downpour got worse, more came out and ran
through the halls towards the street. Also the neighbor, an older lady,
called him, startled because water was coming out of her bath drain.

For some time, some people have been removing the drain covers when the
streets flood. They think that this way the water will drain faster and
so they will prevent the flooding of their houses. But as these grills
almost always are in the middle of the streets, this constitutes a
danger not only for the pedestrians who try to cross the streets, but
also for vehicles like bicycles and motorcycles. Jorge, a neighbor,
tells me that recently a man caught his attention and directed him to
call the high pressure truck that extracts black water, and he looked at
him mockingly and shot back: "Buddy, that truck is a ghost! I'm tired
of calling it and it not coming!"

Translated by mlk.

14 June 2014

Source: The Sewer Waters' Phantom Truck / Gladys Linares | Translating
Cuba -

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