Explosion at Havana’s Hotel Saratoga Was Worse than Reported

At last count there were 22 dead and 64 injured

Rooms are exposed at the five-star Hotel Saratoga where emergency crew work after a deadly explosion in Old Havana, Cuba, Friday, May 6, 2022. Photo: Ramon Espinosa / AP

By Diario de Cuba

HAVANA TIMES – Apart from the Saratoga Hotel where the main explosion occurred on Friday morning, there are another 23 affected buildings in the area. In two of them, where 40 Cuban families live, the damage is structural.

The Cuban TV news on Friday night said so far there are 22 deaths, including a child and a pregnant woman. In addition, the government said there are 64 injured people who are treated in different Havana hospitals, including 50 adults and 14 children.

Of the hospitalized children, three are in critical condition, two in serious condition, and nine are reported to be in care, informed Dr. Julio Guerra Izquierdo, head of the Department of Hospital Services of the Ministry of Public Health at a press conference.

In addition, of the adults admitted there are 18 in serious or critical condition. Ten adults and three children have undergone surgery due to the injuries they sustained.

Dr. Guerra said that the Ministry of the Interior and Legal Medicine will be in charge of identifying the bodies, so the identity of the deceased will be announced in the coming hours.

According to the Twitter of the Presidency, which summarized the information, the children from the neighboring elementary school that suffered damage “will be relocated to other educational institutions in the area,” while the families that lost their homes are being “moved to safe places while recovery actions are performed.

The president also assured that work continues to assess the state of the hotel structures and surrounding buildings, many of which suffered serious damage as a result of the explosion.

On the nightly Round Table program, the governor of Havana, Reinaldo García Zapata, said that there are 23 buildings affected, 17 of them housing. Two are very affected: Prado 609, with 30 apartments, of which 15 completely collapsed, and Zulueta 510, with ten apartments, and which suffered structural damage.

“We are interviewing these families to see if they can move to relatives’ homes,” he said.

There is also damage to the Martí Theater and the Yoruba Society of Cuba, as well as to the Capitolio building, which suffered glass breakage, as well as to the El Calvario Baptist Church.

García Zapata said preliminary evaluations indicate the Saratoga Hotel has no structural damage. He said the building “will be recovered as quickly as it requires,” as will the two seriously affected apartment buildings.

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