In Cuba: Sleeping fully clothed in case of building collapse

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When we go to sleep, it is with the fear of not waking up again,” says Elisa Bacyan, resident in one of about 700 apartment buildings deemed unsafe in the Cuban capital, where collapses are frequent. Bacyan, 51, lives alone with her daughter Lesyanis, 12 in an old-town building named “Edificio Cuba” that dates from 1940.

The six-story building belongs to the Cuban State, like most others on the communist island. It sports 114 small rooms that house 92 families rent-free. It used to be an elegant hotel, say residents.

Today, the floor planks are broken, the ceilings, columns and passageway walls reveal twisted metallic skeletons, and cracks and leaks abound. Children “cannot even play here, because every now and again a piece (of building) comes down,” said Bacyan, with tears in her eyes.

“I’ve already lost a child” to illness, Bacyan told AFP. “I do not want to lose my daughter too.” Due to a lack of oversight and maintenance, buildings collapse fully or in part in Havana with shocking frequency, even more so during the rainy and hurricane season from June to November.—AFP

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