Cuba on Wednesday (28/9) could begin to breathe a sigh of relief after two days of Hurricane Ian, a Category Three hurricane with speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour. Cuba’s Ministry of Energy and Mines announced it had restored energy to three regions by activating two large power plants in Felton and Nuevitas, but the capital Havana and parts of the west remained pitch black.
Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Havana Nana Yuliana said the Indonesian Embassy in Havana is still monitoring the condition of Indonesian citizens in Cuba and surrounding countries. There are 36 Indonesian citizens in Cuba, all of whom are safe, according to the statement from the Indonesian Embassy in Havana as received by VOA on Wednesday afternoon.
Indonesian Embassy in Havana Opens Command Post
Interviewed by telephone, Nana Yuliana said “we have opened the Indonesian Embassy’s command post and hotline, as well as providing food stocks for Indonesian citizens and staff affected by Hurricane Ian.” He added that long before Hurricane Ian hit Cuba, his party had purchased various basic and emergency needs which were now provided at the post he had established.
The majority of Indonesians in Cuba are the families of the staff of the Indonesian Embassy in Havana, monks and nuns, students and the elderly. “There is Padre Aman Laka, a priest, and two other priests in Havana. There is also brother Andreas in Colon, about five hours from Havana, whom we have also been in contact with,” said Nana.
Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and others fled Cuba ahead of the arrival of a powerful storm that caused flooding and landslides. There are 55 shelters that have been established. Authorities are still evaluating the damage. So far there have been no reports of casualties.
The Indonesian Embassy in Havana quoted several media reports stating that Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Wednesday participated in monitoring the situation in the capital after the storm, and held a meeting with the local military to discuss the recovery process. “The recovery process, especially infrastructure, is likely to take a long time considering that Cuba is currently experiencing economic difficulties, shortages of construction materials and gasoline, in addition to the challenges of obtaining basic necessities such as food and medicine.”
The province of Pinar del Rio, which is mostly planted with tobacco, was badly damaged; so does one of Cuba’s most prominent plantations, Finca Robaina.
Reach Florida, Hurricane Ian weakens
At the time of writing, Hurricane Ian was already over Florida, but had weakened to a category two hurricane with winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour. The Indonesian Consulate General in Houston, whose work area also oversees Florida, asked Indonesians “to increase their vigilance, monitor weather developments and available weather warnings, prepare equipment to anticipate power outages, and comply with the directives and appeals of the competent authorities.” The Indonesian Consulate General in Houston has also socialized a hotline number that can be contacted in an emergency.
The Indonesian Consul General in Houston, Andre Omer Siregar, on Wednesday night indicated that the condition of Indonesian citizens in Florida was safe. “We’ve been issuing warnings since Monday,” he said simply.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tweeted “after the storm has passed, be careful when leaving the house. Make sure to avoid submerged power lines, avoid flooding, don’t stand under trees, don’t drive in stagnant water and keep generators at least six meters away from your home.” [em/ah]