By Isbel Diaz Torres
HAVANA TIMES — A 50-year-old man was the lone casualty following an afternoon collapse of a wall at a school in the Havana municipality of Marianao.
The victim was riding a bicycle on 51st Avenue, one of the busiest arteries of the city, when the part of the perimeter wall of the “March 13 High School” collapsed.
The death of the individual — who was wearing a brown government guard uniform — was apparently instantaneous, therefore passersby did not attempt to lend assistance to the cyclist. Area residents only crowded around the body as the corpse lied motionless under the bricks.
Speaking to Havana Times, one neighbor at the scene of the incident said three students from the school were also involved in the accident, but only one was injured.
Teenagers were trying to leave the school by climbing over the wall facing 51st Avenue (situated just before the entrance to the bridge to the La Lisa municipality) when the structure gave way.
Two of the students fell onto the sidewalk but landed on their feet, but a third suffered a blow to the head by one of the falling bricks, leaving him dazed for a short period of time, said the resident.
The accident occurred about 4:30 pm, as students were leaving school.
A few months ago, several buildings in very poor condition suffered total and partial collapses on 51st Avenue just yards from that same school site. Those homes have been repaired and are currently occupied.
However, it is clear that the infrastructure of the capital is continuing to give way after decades of use without effective maintenance or repair work.
The Cuban government, unable to undertake this type of work on residential properties, has approved loans and grants to households affected by building collapses, thereby giving them the wherewithal to undertake needed construction work with their own labor.