Noel delivers a blow to Cuban food supply
Posted on Fri, Nov. 02, 2007
BY FRANCES ROBLES
Tropical Storm Noel collapsed hundreds of homes in Cuba, washed out more
than 1,000 miles of roads and flooded thousands of acres of crops in a
wallop that the Granma newspaper said Friday will make it impossible to
meet the food needs in the island's eastern provinces for the rest of
A country whose agriculture industry already was in ruins lost nearly
20,000 tons of food, the newspaper said. Some 30,000 people remained
The deadliest Caribbean storm of the season, with 122 dead in the
Dominican Republic and Haiti, appears to have spared lives in Cuba,
widely credited for having the region's best storm evacuation plans. But
Noel lingered over the island much of Tuesday, dumping unprecedented
amounts of rain on the already water-logged eastern provinces.
Top Cuban officials including Education Minister José Ramón Machado
Ventura toured the hardest-hit provinces and called for ''maximum effort
everywhere'' to overcome the gloomy outlook.
The government reported the following damage:
• In Ciego de Avila, 3,161 acres of banana fields are flooded. More than
20 inches of rain fell there this month, also leaving more than 5,000
acres of sugar cane under water.
More than 13,585 acres of other crops also were lost, amounting to more
than 18,000 tons of food, according to early estimates.
• In Holguín, 735 homes were damaged, of which 131 collapsed entirely.
More than 11,000 people are still out of their homes.
• In Guantánamo, early reports show 2,173 homes were damaged, including
865 that lost their roofs and 112 that collapsed.
Combined with damage done by rains earlier this month, 60 percent of the
roads in the area are damaged, in a situation that is ''critical,''
particularly in mountain regions, Guantánamo's provincial newspaper
Venceremos reported. Dozens of communities are still cut off.
• In Last Tunas, 659 homes were damaged, and the railroad is out of service.