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Vara en tierra

Cuba's civil defense system, the main objective of which is to save people's lives, is forcefully returning to a rustic, auxiliary, low-cost, multipurpose construction, known among Cuban farmers as "vara en tierra" (a yard-high shelter).

After Hurricane Dennis hit the Island in 2005, affecting over 40,000 houses in eastern Granma Province, Sierra Maestra residents recalled these important auxiliary structures, used in rural Cuba to protect people, food and tools.

These are generally put together from local materials, chiefly from palm trees.

At the end of the weekend Meteoro 2007 drill against disasters, to face the start of the hurricane season on June 1, Brig. Gen. Thais Martinez, of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces Ministry, suggested using the experience of the vara en tierra in other places in the Island, as these shelters are safe, very economical and can be located near houses.

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