Cuba: How to Prepare and Protect Ourselves Against a Hurricane?

Cuba: How to Prepare and Protect Ourselves Against a Hurricane?
Fecha de publicación: 
26 September 2022
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Given the proximity of Ian, the fourth hurricane of the current hurricane season, all taking shape in September, CubaSi recommends following a set of measures to protect families.


It’s essential that the task begins with each person and family, and that it starts from the knowledge of the vulnerabilities of our homes, their constructive state, roof endurance, walls, windows, and doors against strong winds, chances of collapse and leaks, and danger of flooding in the case of being in low areas, close to rivers, canals, ravines or coastal areas.


By protocol we must be permanently informed. Let's not leave for later the task of cleaning roofs, unblocking of ditches, sewers and drains that can cause flooding due to heavy rains, check the condition and operation of the radio and flashlights, as well as the condition of batteries, and have handmade oil lamps and candles.

In addition, the resources for subsistence during the duration of the event must be specified, like water deposits, food, first aid kit, medications for metabolic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Not least, the Civil Defense suggests closing the gas, biogas or domestic fuel inlets used for cooking food every time you use the kitchen.


During the development of these weather phenomenon, movements at night and under the influence of winds, rains or floods must be avoided. Those who move to evacuation centers, or the homes of friends or relatives must disconnect electronic devises to avoid accidents in their homes. The formation of a family backpack with essential means and resources for the protection of families in other protection centers should not be forgotten.

There are those who underestimate measures and leave behind unpleasant stories for friends and family. For this reason, it’s reiterated not to travel through flooded areas, nor go to these areas to fish, bathe or collect objects and articles. It’s insisted that people do not touch fallen cables and stay away from places with danger of collapse or displacement. Nor should they go out in calm weather, since it’s nothing more than the eye of the hurricane over the place we are in.


In the last 50 years several hurricanes have hit Cuba, the Caribbean area and the South of the United States with the power of their winds and the intensity of their rains. Irma, which hit the Lesser Antilles in September 2017, hit with all its might Barbuda, Saint Bartholomew, and Saint Martin, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Florida, and in Cuba it skirted the north coast for 72 hours causing ten deaths and damage to 13 of the 15 provinces.


The “death” of thunderstorms


Although we have the possibility of being forewarned of the impact of a hurricane, thanks to the improvement of technology and meteorological systems, the truth is that electrical storms sometimes do not give us time to escape the lightning discharge, although there are those who defy nature and stay in pools, showers, lakes, rivers, beaches, and boats, others forget the advice not to take shelter under trees, and the lightning story ends up being disastrous.


According to the Institute of Geophysics and Astronomy, in Cuba the first cause of death due to meteorological phenomena is due to lightning strikes and, in general, the greatest occurrence of these coincides with the months of the hurricane season. Statistics from the Ministry of Science, Technology, and the Environment indicate that an average of 65 Cubans lose their lives each year. In the 1979-2013 period, 1,682 people died from these climatological processes.


Cuba qualifies as one of the most affected nations by these events in the world, given the great electrical activity that characterizes the storms in the country. The figures indicate that the largest number of discharges of this type is concentrated in the north of the province of Pinar del Río, the interior of Havana, Artemisa and Mayabeque, and in west Matanzas.


United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week advised the population "Do not bathe or wash dishes when there is a thunderstorm. It’s best to avoid all contact with water during an electric storm".


According to the warning, the potential threat begins when the storm is within 10 miles of a person. They stressed that the sound of the storm should not be ignored, "because where there is thunder, there is lightning, and lightning can kill or cause damage in the least expected way. That includes when you are in the shower, in the bathtub or even washing the dishes".


However, they clarified that this is not the only danger indoors. "You have to stay away from porches and balconies, stay away from windows or doors, and don't lie down or lean on concrete floors.


You should also not use anything connected to a power outlet, such as computers or other electronic equipment, and you should avoid talking to corded phones," added the CDC, which clarified that "cell phones and cordless phones are safe," if they are not connected to an outlet through a charger".


As long as the pertinent precautions are taken, the perception of risk remains active and we act responsibly in society for our lives and others, we will have the skill to handle the situation in our favor, human life, and the well-being of those around us.

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