Cuba's Baracoa still struggles to recover from 2016-2017 hurricanes

Cuban government continues to rebuild town of Baracoa

BARACOA, Cuba – Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba's town of Baracoa during one of his first trips to America. Now it's a tourist destination and the gem of the province of Guantanamo.

Baracoa is also known for its cocoa, the bean-like seeds from which chocolate is made. Officials recently showed the government chocolate factory to a group of foreign journalists.

Hurricane Matthew in 2016 hurt the industry when it damaged about 50 percent of the area. Hurricane Irma last year delayed the recovery process.   

More than 42,000 homes were damaged and some 8,400 were destroyed, officials said. The infrastructure for water and electricity services was severely crippled.

One of the town's main bridges collapsed and it has yet to reopen, but when it does officials say it will be able to withstand hurricane-force winds. Some residents are still waiting for the government to give them a home. Officials said about 84 percent of the homes damaged have been rebuilt.   

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