As of Wednesday, September 13, the coastal regions of Cuba, from Baracoa to west of Havana, are suffering from water shortages due to damaged infrastructure and power outages caused by Hurricane Irma, which hit the island September 8-10. The lack of safe drinking water is increasing the likelihood of a health crisis. NGOs are deploying to the area to provide 3 million chlorine tablets to the affected regions, while the Cuban government is sending tanker trucks with drinking water to alleviate shortages.
Hurricane Irma, which hit Cuba between Friday, September 8, and Sunday, September 10, left ten dead in Cuba and caused severe flooding in Havana, as well as the provinces of Matanzas, Camaguey, and Ceigo de Avila.
Authorities reported on Tuesday, September 12, that Havana's José Martí International Airport (HAV) and Varadero's Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport (VRA) had reopened following temporary closures during Hurricane Irma.
Individuals present in the affected areas are advised to be prepared for water shortages (stock up on bottled water), to stay away from downed power lines, and adhere to all advice issued by the local authorities. Finally, because floodwater may also contain wastewater or chemical products, wear boots and try to avoid any contact with the water. All items having come into contact with the water should be washed and disinfected. Dispose of any food that may have come into contact with floodwater.