ETECSA Joins Shoulders with All Cuba in The Recovery after Hurricane Ian

ETECSA Joins Shoulders with All Cuba in The Recovery after Hurricane Ian
Fecha de publicación: 
5 October 2022
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As soon as Hurricane Ian left Cuban land, the Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) put hands at work to repair the damage to communications.

Damage was extensive. On the very night of Tuesday 27th, the ETECSA website reported in an informative report that, without ending the diagnosis due to harsh weather, more than 380 interrupted radio bases distributed between Pinar del Río (52%), Artemisa (42%) and Havana (38%), the provinces hardest hit.

The main causes of these effects were fallen cables and poles, damage to cabinets and base stations, as well as the lack of electricity, caused by the passing of the hurricane.

Immediately, the President of ETECSA, Tania Vázquez, along with part of the executive management of the company, went to Pinar del Río to witness first-hand the state of telecommunications infrastructure in the province and provide all the necessary support to the restoration.

And still occasional gust of wind violently shook what remained of trees, when the first support brigades of different specialties and from various territories of the country were already moving to the affected areas, where it was essential to begin by clearing roads to gain access to damaged networks.

From that moment on, the ETECSA workers have not stopped contributing to the recovery.

Hurricanes of Wills

Organized into specialized brigades in different tasks, linemen, technicians, pole climbers, repairmen... went first to Pinar del Río then moved to the other affected territories.

Swayed by solidarity, this was not the first time that this happened and with the experience of previous times, and knowing the difficult conditions in which they would work, the phrase "We are ready to help!" it was repeated in all the provinces of the country, according to the Facebook profile of ETECSA.

In this institutional profile remains the story of how brigades from different provinces were joining, made up largely of young but experienced workers, and also accompanied by those who had already accumulated years of work.

The Minister of Communications, Mayra Arevich Marín, accompanied by the Vice Minister of Communications, Ernesto Rodríguez Hernández and Lidia Esther Hidalgo Rodríguez, Vice President of Operations of Etecsa Network, on a recent tour of Viñales and San Luis, recorded via Twitter that “we saw that progress is being made in the recovery. We work with rigor, discipline, and dedication to restore Communications services, which is our fundamental commitment to the people. #ForceCuba.”

Their visit coincided with the third visit made by President Díaz-Canel to that province, "where today the greatest recovery efforts are concentrated. The situation is difficult, the damage is considerable, more than 200 families have completely lost their homes." But the people of Pinar del Río are not alone, #TodosJuntos we will come through", as he stated on his Twitter account.

ETECSA solidarity cooperation from other territories has also reached Havana, Mayabeque, and Artemisa.

In the case of Artemisa, the municipalities of Bahía Honda and San Cristóbal had the greatest damage to communications, although in the case of the Joven Club and Correos de Cuba the damage was minimal: ceiling blanket, fallen fences and glass marquetry, while Radiocuba, which reached its 27th anniversary collaborating in the recovery, was not affected.

During a check-up meeting for the restoration of telecommunications services in the southern zone of Havana, held on September 29th, Boyeros, Arroyo Naranjo, and 10 de Octubre were the most affected municipalities in that area. Poles and cables were also down there, while some base stations were out of operation due to the depletion of their batteries.

A similar scenario was found by the Minister of Communications and the president of ETECSA, when they toured the western area of ​​the capital, Marianao, La Lisa, and Playa on the afternoon of the 29th, where they also verified that intense work was being done to recover these services.

Taking into account the aftermath caused by Hurricane Ian and the energy contingency situation in the country, the Directorate of Institutional Communication of ETECSA informed customers last Friday 30th that the date of payment of phone bill and the monthly Nauta Hogar fee had been extended, so both services would not be disconnected.

They also announced that the hours associated to Nauta Hogar account not used would be additionally recharged to the customer's account during the first days of October. As for the landlines bill, adjustments would be made in correspondence with the time the service was affected, while the validity of the nauta PLUS accounts was extended to 5 days.

By Friday, when reviewing the recovery tasks, the disasters caused by Ian in telecommunications were already more precise:

- More than 1,200 poles affected by the winds and fallen trees.

- More than 100 thousand landlines services interrupted, equivalent to 15% of the total phone lines of the 5 provinces hit by the hurricane.

- 40% of all radio base sites and 7% of telephone services in the country were affected by the lack of electricity.

 But the work, almost without rest and in often complex conditions, of ETECSA workers in the affected areas, allowed that even without finishing the work on the telecommunications networks, by the end of Sunday, October 2nd, according to a report from that company, in the province of Mayabeque and in the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud, practically 100% recovery had already been achieved in landlines and mobile telephony, this being the most notable advance.

In Pinar del Río and Artemisa, the source stated that more than 50% of the interruptions on landline services had been restored, while 80% were reached in Havana.

These results were largely due to the recovery of fallen poles and cables, the most complex work, which already added more than 400 poles and 250 cables recovered.

Mobile telephony had also been restored after electricity was restored and the solution of damage to structures related to that service. In Havana and Artemisa they already had mobile coverage in more than 85% of the total base stations, while Pinar del Río still had 64%.

Despite what has been recovered, the company's workers keep on their task, seeking to shorten the interruption.

“The love, commitment, and sense of belonging of workers in the sector is what has prevailed the most”, commented the Minister of the branch in an interview offered to the provincial radio station Radio Guamá and reproduced by the official website of ETECSA. “We are doing what we have to do, fulfilling the Revolution that has given us so much. This sector has been characterized as a sector of revolutionary people, who have a high dedication and sensitivity”, she referred.

The minister also stressed the great dedication of that labor force that already allows us to see the progress in the recovery and called to accompany the most vulnerable, to provide service to the people who need it most and where it has the greatest impact.

She also urged to “work well, rigorously, with technological discipline, improve everything that can be improved. Provide the services of telecommunications network, the services of Post Office, Joven Club and Radiocuba better than before the hurricane passed, in this way we will be complying with the Revolution and, above all, with our people”, sentenced Mayra Arevich Marín.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff


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