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Sleep fully clothed in the event of a building collapse

#Sleep #fully #clothed #event #building #collapse

“When we go to sleep, it’s for fear of not waking up again,” says Elisa Bacyan, who lives in one of the approximately 700 apartment buildings that are considered unsafe in the Cuban capital, where collapses are common.

Bacyan, 51, lives alone with her daughter Lesyanis, 12, in a 1940 old town house called Edificio Cuba.

The six-story building is owned by the Cuban state, like most others on the communist island. It has 114 small rooms in which 92 families live rent-free.

It used to be an elegant hotel, residents say.

Today the floorboards are broken, the ceilings, pillars and corridor walls have twisted metal skeletons, and there are many cracks and leaks.

Kids “can’t even play here because every now and then a piece[of the building]falls down,” Bacyan said tearfully.

“I’ve already lost a child,” Bacyan told AFP. “I don’t want to lose my daughter too.”

– ‘Not recommended’ –

Due to a lack of supervision and maintenance, buildings in Havana collapse in whole or in part at an alarming rate, especially during the rainy and hurricane season from June to November.

In 2020, a balcony collapsed, killing three young girls.

This year, the first rains in June caused 146 buildings in the capital to partially collapse and two to collapse completely, according to official media, resulting in the death of a 69-year-old man.

Nobody knows who will be next.

Official figures show that by the end of 2020, about 37 percent of the 3.9 million residential buildings in the country were considered to be in an undesirable condition.

A construction specialist, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, told AFP news agency Bacyan’s Edificio Cuba house had “structural defects from floor to ceiling.”

“It is not recommended that people live there.”

In this building, as in many others, the makeshift addition of mezzanines, bathrooms, and water tanks add significantly to the burden for which they were built.

– ‘No Answer’ –

Cary Suarez, 57, moved into Edificio Cuba in 1997 after her previous block of flats became one of the collapse statistics.

She was out taking her children to school, but her mother, who was at home, died.

“To have experienced all that and to be on the verge of reliving a breakdown is very difficult,” she said.

Francisca Pena, 54, has made it her mission to seek redress from the authorities on behalf of the residents.

“We have exhausted all avenues and received no response,” she told AFP.

Pena said she sleeps fully dressed in case she needs to “run out” in the middle of the night.

It has happened several times, she said, that residents have rushed into the street after hearing a suspicious “noise”.

“I have dark circles under my eyes, I don’t sleep, I live with waiting for part (of the building) to fall,” said Luvia Diaz, a 50-year-old social worker who lives on the top floor of Edificio Cuba ‘ with her partner, three daughters and one grandson.

Earlier this month, rain caused a piece of her bedroom blanket to fall onto an empty bed.

“If my daughter slept there, it would have been a tragedy,” she said.

Another resident, who identifies herself only as “Pumpa,” was there when part of the building collapsed 29 years ago when she was just two years old.

A piece of blanket hit her in the head and Pumpa had to undergo complicated skull reconstruction surgery, she told AFP while cleaning her apartment.

“I’m afraid to live here… I won’t be saved the second time,” she said.

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#Sleep #fully #clothed #event #building #collapse

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