Severe water shortages hit central and eastern Cuba

Latin America

Parts of Central and Eastern Cuba are being hit by one of the most prolonged droughts in more than a century. Rivers are drying up and many reservoirs are depleted. Some towns are relying on infrequent water deliveries.

CGTN’s Michael Voss reports.

Severe water shortages hit central and eastern Cuba

Parts of Central and Eastern Cuba are being hit by one of the most prolonged droughts in more than a century. Rivers are drying up and many reservoirs are depleted. Some towns are relying on infrequent water deliveries.

It’s been more than three years since water levels dropped dramatically at the reservoir in Ciego de Avila Province. Much of the area  has reverted to fields. There are six reservoirs in the province, but three have no useable water.

Farmers have planted more sugar to make up for lower yields. The cane on one farm is smaller and dryer than usual, with crop yields down by almost a half. Bananas and plantain production has also suffered,

Florencia is the worst affected municipality in the region. Many homes have no running water. The local authorities have deployed a fleet of tankers, providing the only source of safe water for drinking and other household uses.

More than half the population relies on tankers for its water and supplies are limited to just once or twice a month.

The Cuban government has allocated $40 million, at the official exchange rate, to help alleviate the drought in Ciego de Avila Province alone. This includes sinking new wells and updating the aging water infrastructure.

There has been some rain over the past week, but not enough to alleviate the situation where almost a million Cubans are now affected by the drought.