All that remains of the wood-slat shack that Estrella Sosa Osorio shared with her husband and daughter is a toilet bowl bolted to the ground.
In late August, Hurricane Gustav left the place she called home damaged, but largely intact. Two subsequent hurricanes completed the destruction. After each storm, the family promptly returned to the same spot -- a cruel cycle repeated by thousands of others throughout the island.
Many rebuilt with what was left: scraps of wood, loose bricks and pieces of roofing. Sosa, 38, moved with her family to an abandoned seaside motel, which now houses several displaced families.
After Hurricane Paloma on Nov. 9, government officials said the only solution for coastal communities such a Playa del Cajio was to relocate residents further inland. But the rebuilding of Cuba has been slow, hampered by supply shortages and the enormity of the disaster. The government faces another problem: the people don't want to move.
In places like Playa de Cajio, Santa Cruz del Sur and Guanimar, families still go to bed just steps away from the sea.
In 2002, an official report said there were 244 communities and towns home to 1.4 million people that were vulnerable to coastal flooding.
The other day, Sosa saw her teen-aged off to school and then did her laundry a stone's throw from the glistening sea. The clothes dried on lines strung from the ruins of the dilapidated motel where she now lives.
Sosa said it didn't matter. The town is her home, she said, and where she would be found after the next storm comes through.
"Where else would we go?" said Sosa, echoing the sentiments of many. "We have lives here."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times