Building collapse in Cuban capital leaves 1 dead, at least 2 hurt

A building in the historic center of Havana that housed 13 families partially collapsed, leaving one person dead and at least two injured, Cuban authorities said Wednesday.

Rescue teams were trying to access the building where two people remained trapped after Tuesday night’s collapse.

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While the reason for the collapse was not immediately known, the area has several aging buildings that lack maintenance and deteriorate in tropical rains, like those currently hitting the island.

Havana building collapse

Firefighters prepare to search for survivors at the site of a partially collapsed building in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Alexis Acosta Silva, mayor of Old Havana, told local media there were 54 people in the three-story building at the time of the collapse. Families were evacuated to a nearby school, and no damage was reported to surrounding buildings.

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Poor maintenance of existing residential buildings and the slow rate of building new ones have been top complaints among Cuba’s citizens.

Cuba’s Director of Housing Vivian Rodríguez said this week that the island has a housing deficit of 800 homes, especially in the provinces of Havana, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey.

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Government figures from 2020 showed Cuba had 3.9 million homes. Of these, nearly 40% were in fair and poor condition.

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