It is very sad to think that less than a month after writing that last blog about Villa Maguana the hotel has been largely destroyed on the night of Tuesday 4 October by Hurricane Matthew. The timber construction, although robustly built, could not withstand the 130mph maintained wind speeds that the hurricane brought.
That eastern corner of the island suffered terribly that night and many of the places that we visited in June this year were badly affected including Baracoa, Guantanamo and Siboney. About 1 million people in Cuba were evacuated we are told but the destruction to homes and property will be life changing for many. Haiti just to the east was even worse affected and there over 1,000 people lost their lives. Our hearts go out to them. During the hurricane we were in the Luna y Mares hotel just west of Guardalavaca. On 30 September the hurricane was forecast to be heading straight for us but over the following days its course shifted slightly to the east. Many at the hotel were evacuated to Cayo Coco much further to the west but we stayed put along with about 200 others and sat it out. As it happened there was no damage to speak of at the hotel from the strong winds and rain and the imposed curfew was lifted by mid-morning the next day. Just 100 miles to the east the story was very different. The staff at the hotel were brilliant and worked hard and long hours to make the necessary preparations to ensure everybody’s safety while worrying about their own families often living in flimsy structures that would not withstand the full force of a hurricane. With global warming we are told we should expect such extreme weather events more commonly in the future.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.