7 dead, 2 missing in Cuba after heavy rains, floods
Seven people died and two others remain missing in Cuba after heavy rains and floods hit the country's central and western provinces, the island country's Civil Defense said Saturday, Xinhua reported.
The seven dead are all men who were drowned while swimming in overflowing rivers in the western province of Pinar del Rio and the central provinces of Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara and Matanzas, local newspaper Granma quoted the country's main institution for disaster relief as saying.
The two people missing are also from Villa Clara and Ciego de Avila. One of them was last seen swimming in a river while the other man disappeared in unknown circumstances.
Over the last week, heavy rains affected the Cuba's central provinces due to subtropical storm Alberto, flooding towns and leaving thousands of homes under water, while over 51,000 Cubans were evacuated in the area.
Recovery efforts are now underway after more than 1,500 homes were affected with 174 of them totally collapsed.
One of the nation's main oil refineries in Cienfuegos was forced to stop due to the heavy floods that hours later caused an oil spill in that city's bay. The escape has been controlled by local authorities.
Substantial damages have been caused in the agricultural sector, with crops like rice, beans, tobacco and bananas being affected.
The Zaza dam, the largest in Cuba, has accumulated over 900 million cubic meters of water, standing at 100 percent of its full capacity.
Last year, Cuba was severely affected by hurricane Irma which caused heavy floods and serious damage estimated at 13 billion U.S. dollars, leaving ten dead and forcing the evacuation of 1.7 million people.