I am sure that you all were aware of the hurricane called Gustav. Millions of people had to evacuate New Orleans and they were, once again, put in the spotlight. Yet what the rest of the world may not have been paying attention to is something quite important to cigar lovers. The region called Pinar del Rio in Cuba was also hit by hurricane Gustav. This region is found at the western end of Cuba and, more importantly for us, it is the main source of the highly sought after Cuban tobacco. Pinar del Rio actually produces 70% of the tobacco of Cuba.
So how did Pinar del Rio fare in the last few days? Colin Ganley of Cigar Research provides a detailed report. Here are some of the more important points:
In the surrounding areas, more than 7,000 buildings lost their roofs. 100,000 more were damaged, and some simply collapsed. The Cuban government has an extensive hurricane emergency system. Most residents of Pinar del Rio took shelter during the storm as part of this system. No lives have been reported lost.
Pinar del Rioâ€™s most important crop, tobacco was not yet planted but the crop from last year was drying in barns. While some 500,000 bags of premium tobacco leaves were in the process of being moved to safe warehouses, the BBC reported that 1,000 tons of tobacco leaves were soaked in the storm.
This is definitely NOT good news to the farmers in the area. Let us hope that somehow, they get through this disaster.