CIEGO DE ÁVILA.- About 75 percent of the surface of Florence is a mountain stream. It is known in this province as «The municipality of the beautiful landscapes», even, it is here the highest elevation of the territory, Pico Bandera (Sierra de Jatibonico), with 442.0 meters above the mean sea level.  84 kilometers northwest of the capital of Avila, it was the jurisdiction most affected by the diluted rains brought by the subtropical storm Alberto at the end of last May.
More than ten communities registered rainfall above 500 millimeters in that region. month, and in the popular council Ranchuelo exceeded 668.2 millimeters.
Damage to the road network and agriculture were great, only in tobacco there were damages for almost 12 300 000 pesos: about two million pesos for losses and loss in the quality of tobacco in the rooms, due to the humidity with its sequelae; and about ten million pesos for plantations that could not be harvested.
On the other hand, the severe floods due to the overflow of the North Jatibonico River, "stuck" in the sink that opens underground to the other side of the orographic complex known as the Heights of the Northeast of Las Villas, which has in these parts its birth from east to west, reached levels of up to nine meters above the normal channel.
Many electric poles were submerged in the region of Boquerón and Lowrey , the two communities most affected by the rains. And the Liberacion de Florencia hydraulic complex, the most important in Ciego de Ávila, had a historic record, accumulating some 79 million cubic meters of water.
Water went down in the mountains
A little over two months after However, the ravages caused by nature, population settlements and much of the roads undermined or demolished are not very visible.
The banks of the North Jatibonico are now the obvious witness of the ravages. Trees and palms leafless, collapsed or half falling, mark the level reached by the current. And the tumuli of rocks that rise from the river, peeled like a coconut, continue to freeze the sun.
The people of Florence "live a normal life", as if "that" was past. But continue to thank. Many went out to greet the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, who dedicated the morning of this Tuesday, July 31, to visit places affected by the subtropical storm and talk to how many locals came out, as is his custom.
As soon as he arrived at the head of the municipality, he went to meet those who spontaneously awaited him. He explained the reason for the work visit, he became interested in life in the town and it seems that it gave time for many to keep the images of the meeting on their cell phones; scene already recurrent in his days of work in the different places of the nation he visits, and always, in a family way.
Along the journey through Florence Avileña the president stopped the vehicle carrying him to talk with neighbors , as it did in the cellar of "monte adentro" La Báscula, which dispatches the food to those who live by the intramontane road from Lowrey to Boquerón.
He talked with the saleswoman about the entry of the regulated goods, and the liberated ones; about what is the most demanded in the region; about bread – "they bring it every day," says the worker of the trade. He inquired about the normed milk, which is sold there through a window at the waist, through which the locals saw and heard the exchange between the President and the cellar.
Accompanied by Félix Duarte Ortega, member of the Central Committee and First Secretary of the Party in Ciego de Ávila, and other authorities of the province and the municipality, from there the Head of State took the opportunity to talk with the parishioners, men and women from the hills, to whom he commented that despite the heavy rains caused by the storm, people look calm and the landscape is more beautiful.
However, he insisted on the need to prepare to continue facing phenomena like these, which threaten to become more frequent as a result of climate change, process that is irreversible.
The president has been reiterating this irrefutable reality during the work visits made to Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Matanzas and now Ciego de Ávila to check in situ the damages caused by last May's hydrometeorological event and the enormous recovery works.
The concern of the country's leadership, whose earliest and clearest alerts were made and maintained by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, and over which Army General Raúl Castro Ruz always warns, accompanies Díaz-Canel, for who the subtropical storm Alberto brought new teachings, because unlike a tropical cyclone, the persistent and intense rains that cause can leave greater damage than those, such as those that occurred in the road network of the center of the country.
The work of the Head of State in the Avilanian municipality of Florence began at Bridge 535 on the road to Jaraueca, severely undermined at its base, and where dozens of cubic meters of concrete and rajon have already been poured. The water of the North Jatibonico climbed here nine meters.
Díaz-Canel exchanged with workers and specialists in the middle of the work, where he was informed that he is being rehabilitated by a local construction company. In view, the work undertaken is guided by the principle that "everything we do has to be better than it was".
This same premise guided the statesman in the North Jatibonico Derivative, which overstepped its limits and where It is necessary to conceive, plan and undertake some works to avoid the same thing happening. It was an informative and debate round, between technicians and engineers -including the President-, that finally revolved around an expert consensus.
The next stay of the president was in Lowrey, in the workshop of chosen Abras Grande, belonging to the UEB Benefit of Tobacco in Florence, where the workforce is mostly young and female.
He greeted all the people who work there, one by one, in their jobs, in which they are mostly standing, despite having chairs "That's faster," they say. He also asked abundantly about working conditions, wages, job stability …, detail by detail.
Florencia is a tobacco area, Irma Martínez Martínez, with her 80s, her tremendous blue eyes, her kind wrinkles and her Nice little hat, it would be an excellent model to promote the Cuban cigar or leaf. "In 80 years I've never seen water like it," he tells Díaz-Canel outside the nursery of the agroforestry company where he works.
Irma was accompanied by her colleagues and others who hold management positions in the town, who answered questions about the recovery of the damages caused by the subtropical storm and the attention to the inhabitants of the area, such as the rehabilitation of ceilings, the delivery of cooking modules, refreshments, toilet, mattresses …  Back to the municipal seat, Díaz-Canel visited a candy store for the sale of different delicacies to the population and the canning factory, an old factory where canning from sweet fruits to tamales, from fried beans to the legendary red peppers , an exclusivity of the region.
The subtropical storm Alberto was a hard episode, but it leaves him. Another event equal (or worse due to the force of the winds), Hurricane Irma, last September, left in the municipality of Florence damage in 1 422 homes, but already 80.3 percent of that housing fund has been recovered.
According to the Political-Administrative Division of 1976, Florence has a surface area of 290.69 square kilometers (km2), 4.1 percent of the provincial area. On December 31, 2017 the calculated population amounted to 19 022, with a high number of elderly; According to the resident population, it is one of the ten oldest municipalities in Cuba.
It borders on the north with the municipality of Chambas, on the south with the municipalities of Majagua and Jatibonico (Sancti Spíritus), on the east with the municipalities of Chambas and Ciro Redondo, and to the west with the municipality of Yaguajay (Sancti Spíritus).
In 2016 the forestry index added 18.32 percent, and natural forests represent more than 90 percent of the space, so Florence is incorporated into the Turquino-Bamburanao plan.
Source: Statistical Yearbook of the municipality of Florence. 2016. National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), at www.onei.cu. And Ecured.