Havana takes measures to preserve its famous Seawall of the wrath of the sea

Havana takes measures to preserve its famous Seawall of the wrath of the seaHavana, Jan 27 (EFE) .- The Office of the Historian of Havana (OHC) plans, together with the Cuban Government, several immediate actions to save its emblematic Malecon from the frequent floods of the sea, which threaten the integrity of buildings and the wall of the most famous coastal promenade in the country.

The efforts will focus on the so-called historic area of ​​the Malecón, an extension of almost 2 kilometers between the Castillo de La Punta and the Maceo park, considered one of the most recognized Havana postcards and a must-see tourist attraction, the official Granma newspaper published today.

According to an official study on settlements vulnerable to climate change, the Havanan Malecón has the largest number of houses and infrastructure exposed on the island.

Hence, the Cuban State included the avenue among the 11 priority areas of the Life Task, a government plan approved in April 2017 to face the effects of climate. After the passage last September of the powerful hurricane Irma, which caused waves of more than 10 meters and the entrance of water 2 kilometers inland, the authorities of the Cuban capital plans to rehabilitate the damaged buildings and build others following specific urban regulations.

From now on the new buildings will use weather resistant materials, housing on the ground floors will be prohibited, which will be reserved only for commercial activities, while the basements can only serve as parking lots.

In addition, it will be mandatory to raise the level of the floor with respect to the sidewalk between 15 and 45 centimeters in the portals and 1.20 meters inside the buildings. These rules aim to combine new urban investments with a new environmental awareness, assures a large article in the Granma newspaper.

Another priority of the OHC is to repair, clean and maintain the good condition of the drainages in the flood areas of Old Havana, Havana Center and Plaza de la Revolución, the three capital municipalities through which the protected strip extends.

It is also planned to raise the maximum height of the wall to 1.25 meters with reinforcement and curvature in the façade that faces the sea, to build sidewalks with concrete elements to mitigate the entry of water and add breakwater elements at a prudent distance from the coast. contain the first impact of the sea.

The specialists of the Office of the Historian have insisted that these changes will not suppose a “deterioration of the image of the city”, for which they will respect the patrimonial values ​​of the urban landscape in the Havana coast. Given the danger of Hurricane Irma, some 60 families living on the coastal promenade were evacuated.

Currently, buildings affected by partial landslides and “irreversible structural failures” have been closed to prevent “the entry of people and unfortunate accidents,” says the official report. Irma lashed Cuba between September 8 and 10, after which it left millions in economic losses and 10 deaths, 7 of them in Havana, mostly due to collapsed buildings in poor condition.

Havana, the most populated city in Cuba, is one of the urban enclaves with the largest number of buildings in poor condition, most of them very old constructions without maintenance. To this is added the serious shortage of housing in the country, which forces many families to continue living in buildings with structural damage and in danger of collapse.