STORY: These tankers in Havana are being filled with water – now a rare commodity for thousands of residents in the Cuban capital.
Between 100,000 and 200,000 people in Havana – or as much as 10% of its population – are without access to it, according to state media.
Residents have an idea why.
“We’ve used the same pumping system for so many years. I’m not very knowledgeable about this but you get to the point where if you don’t fix or change anything, years take their toll, like old people that are healthy until they get sick.”
Local officials say aging infrastructure is one factor.
They add climate change-induced drought doesn’t help either.
It’s all making daily life more difficult for people like Old Havana resident Annia Batista.
“We haven’t had water for many days,” she says. “The water issue is bad, very bad.”
The water woes come while the communist-run country is going through one of its worst economic crises in decades.
Tough U.S. sanctions, floundering tourism, soaring inflation and short supplies of food, medicine and fuel are all slamming the island.
A top provincial communist party official says nearly two dozen new pumps will help with the water shortages.
But Luis Antonio Torres says they won’t arrive for weeks.
“We must do everything we can even the impossible so that people get water, and monitor who’s the most affected so that water gets to them.”
Meanwhile, the local government is also asking people to save energy, with demand outpacing its forecasts.
Blackouts are a thorny subject in Cuba.
They in part fed into anger that sparked anti-government protests across the island, including demonstrations in July 2021 believed to be the largest since former leader Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.
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