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    Elsa: the neighbor and the hurricane

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    Elsa: la vecina y el huracán

    A few days ago, she appeared on Facebook, it was her birthday and the photos published brought back the memory of the helpful neighbor, revelry and with contagious joy, of the community where I resided most of my life. Elsa is one of those people you miss because they know how to leave a mark, due to her simplicity and humility.

    Two days ago, her name only made me yearn; now, it acquires another meaning and the images that I receive, through social networks, with that name are different.

    Elsa, is the unease of millions of Cubans who remain attentive to a meteorological phenomenon that "puts their nerves on edge" in a context characterized by the worsening of the health crisis generated by COVID-19, a pandemic that is strongly revealed and worsens economic and social problems.

    Everyone talks about it: the Provincial Meteorological Center indicates it on Telegram as a category 1 hurricane that "constitutes a potential danger for Cuba"; in the street they assure that “it was what was missing”, as an expression of regret when the misfortunes were accentuated.

    It also represents the fact of being attentive to communication channels during each hurricane season and, especially now, that tests our organizational capacity in exceptional situations, this time in an atypical situation, considering the epidemiological complexity existing in the country.

    Elsa becomes a new reason for vigilance for those who must lead, guide, transmit trust, foster unity and make decisions that ensure the preservation of human and material resources.

    It is a new opportunity to resume disaster risk reduction plans and put into practice the lessons of Exercise Meteor 2021, during which the current hurricane season was predicted to be very active, with at least 16 events throughout the North Atlantic basin (eight could reach the hurricane category) and an 85% probability that at least one would affect Cuba. 

    It constitutes the fourth of these phenomena in the current season (three were formed in June). The M.Sc. Orlando Córdova García, main specialist of the Forecasting Group of the Provincial Meteorological Center, refers that normally in these months the formation of tropical cyclones is very low, in the country the peak is in the August-October stage, while, for the province, the highest risk is framed between the second decade of August and the first of September. 

    The current hurricane season breaks schemes and, judging by the predictions of the Institute of Meteorology, Elsa may be one of the tropical cyclones that leave their mark on the Island, so we must be prepared to respond to situations that arise, without neglect hygienic-sanitary measures to avoid contagion with SARS-CoV-2. 

    The historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, always taught us to foresee the worst scenarios and this is one of those. We will have to develop strategies to combine the confrontation with two disasters, one natural and the other health, with the strength and responsibility that distinguish us.