Video: Cuba clean-up

By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/11/2005 1:51:40 PM ET 2005-07-11T17:51:40

In a small village in south-central Cuba, the residents are still in shock and unable to believe what happened here in just a few hours.

Directly in line with the path of Hurricane Dennis, the township of Aguada de Pasajeros was hit hard.

Nearly every home here is damaged. Many lost their roofs. Windows are blown out.

Inside, much is destroyed, or soaked by the rains.

Nothing left
Maria Isabel Echevaria returned home after the storm and found she had virtually nothing left.

It was worse than she expected, and more than she could take.

Down the street, Paulina Bautista also lost her roof, and everything inside.

She had nothing to clean up, except the water and debris on her living room floor.

The hurricane hit Cuba on Friday with 150 mph winds. The storm crumpled houses, uprooted trees and downed power lines while leaving 21 people dead, according to a Cuban government sources.

By Saturday morning, the winds had quieted down, the ocean was flat and all hurricane watches and warnings for Cuba had been lifted. Wary residents began leaving their homes to check for damage outside.

Still recovering from Michelle
The irony is that all this housing was built three years ago for the people left homeless by another hurricane — Michelle in 2001.

Now, once again, residents have been displaced, evacuated by Cuban Civil Defense to a nearby high school to ride out Hurricane Dennis.

For those with nothing to return to, this temporary shelter is now their home, until the government can help them rebuild.

Many, though, refuse to give up. Stitching together a broken roof with a strand of wire or finding enough food for a quick lunch amid the debris.

A town built to rescue the dispossessed, now, itself, torn apart.

Mark Potter is an NBC News correspondent on assignment in south-central Cuba to cover Hurricane Dennis.

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