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The Government builds homes for Saratoga explosion victims more than a kilometer from where they lived

The former residents of Zulueta 512 will be relocated to buildings whose construction is underway on the Calle Vives 438, between Carmen and Figuras.

La Habana
The site where the buildings for the families affected are being built.
The site where the buildings for the families affected are being built. Agencia Cubana de Noticias

Havana authorities recently announced that four families who lived in the building at Zulueta 512, adjacent to the Saratoga Hotel, and who lost their homes after the explosion on May 6, will be relocated to buildings now under construction the Calle Vives 348, between Carmen and Figuras, in Old Havana.

Orlando Vigil Valdés, a representative of the Ministry of Construction in Havana, told the Agencia Cubana de Noticias that two two-story buildings comprised of four apartments each will be built for these families.

According to the report, the soil survey at the site began last Monday and was carried out by the Empresa Nacional de Investigaciones Aplicadas (National Applied Research Company). In the next few days work will be done to clean up the area to lay the foundation by the end of the week, said the official.

There was a derelict building on the site, which was demolished, and the lateral areas were being used as a parking lot, according to the note.
DIARIO DE CUBA visited the location, which is cordoned off, and where heavy trucks are operating. The new site is located in the Consejo Popular Tallapiedra area, more than one kilometer from the where the families used to live.

So far, the authorities have not explained what will happen with the residential buildings surrounding Saratoga that were affected by the explosion, or why nearby residents will have to move to another location.

On the same day of the events, on the Mesa Redonda (Round Table) program, Havana Governor Reinaldo García Zapata said that 23 buildings in the area were affected, 17 of them residential. Two were badly affected: Prado 609, with 30 apartments, 15 of which collapsed completely; and Zulueta 510, with ten apartments, which suffered structural damage.

According to García Zapata, according to preliminary evaluations, the Saratoga has no structural damage, so the building "will be recovered with all due speed." Regarding the two buildings in the worst condition, he said that they would also be restored.

The former inhabitants of the surrounding properties are, according to the authorities, living with relatives and friends, while 22 families were put up in the Aparthotel Las Brisas, in the Villa Panamericana hotel complex.

According to ACN, the latter "were guaranteed a cooking unit, ration book, the standard family package for May, a water supply, and food, these costs being borne by the Government.

The construction of the two-story buildings will employ the Forsa aluminum formwork system, which is regularly used in the construction of the military facilities built by the construction companies of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and the Interior Ministry (MININT).

Charged with the construction will be the Empresa de Diseño Proyectos Ciudad Habana, of the Poder Popular (National Assembly), which will proceed to assemble it in pieces, with the objective of finishing the work in approximately 65 to 70 days, the report said.

So far the rescue efforts in the ruins of the Saratoga have confirmed 43 deaths and almost 100 people affected, most of them workers at the tourist facility owned by the military business conglomerate GAESA, residents of the adjacent buildings, and passers-by.


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