By Miozotis Fabelo Pinares
The seaside town of Santa Cruz del Sur, south Camagüey was lashed out by a powerful hurricane in 1932 that prompted a storm surge that overflowed the town where the seawaters reached a height of 6.5 meters.
The dead toll rose to over 3000, and was a tragedy that cast a pall over all the families in Santa Cruz del Sur who did not receive the suitable assistance of the Government.
Josefa Cañete Esquédulo, survivor of the major natural catastrophe registered in Cuba’s history, gives her testimony about the tragedy.
"My parents spoke a lot of that event, from which I could survive. My father lost his mom, she was one of the missing people. Several brothers and sisters and nephews also disappeared. There were also victims in my mother’s family."
With a spineless voice for the sad memories, Josefa also explains that her husband, who was only 2 years old in that time, lost four of his brothers and his parents.
"I’ve heard a lot of it: the tragedy was dreadful, because they didn't help us on time. A day after of that onshore rush of water the aid train arrived in Santa Cruz del Sur. The fact that so many people had died was the delay in the evacuation because of the indifference of the officials."
Thousand of people drowned during the storm tide that pummeled Santa Cruz del Sur"Many families took refuge in the empty railroad freight cars, but some of them were locked, and the wind turned them over. Hundred of people died stuck there. I survived because the wagon which we got in had the gates open, so the wind could flow and it found no resistance."
Josefa Cañetea and her husband have been evacuated in a school in Camagüey city several times, for the danger hurricanes like Ivan, Ike and Paloma have represented for the coastal areas of Santa Cruz del Sur: the tragedy won't happen again, Josefa upholds
"Two days before the possible hit of the hurricane Ivan we were evacuated, she told reporters. At the moment, with the first reports of a bad weather, the Government's people worry about the security of our lives, and measures of this kind are taken. Nowadays there is no a hurricane that can take us by surprise, everyone get mobilized quickly. My father used to tell me that Millá who was then like meteorologist Rubiera today, lost the cyclone and the number of fatalities was lesser because the storm surge only lasted one day."
Josefa Cañete and her husband, two survivors of the 32 Cyclone tragedy in Santa Cruz del Sur, receive today the medical assistance and are safe in one of the schools prepared to accommodate thousand of evacuees.
"The treatment is very good, and the medical services we have received is excellent, What a different in comparison with 1932!. My husband and I are hypertensive, and our blood pressure has been under control here. Of course, I miss home, but we are not in danger. Here we are safe.
The history of 1932 in Santa Cruz del Sur will never happen again, because the State’s priority is the security and the lives of the people. Another Cuban right.