HAVANA, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of thousands of Cubans took to the streets over the weekend to pick garbage and clean up the wreckage left by powerful Hurricane Irma a week ago.
Joining the massive efforts were thousands of workers from various agencies, universities, the military as well as residents of each neighborhood in the country's 167 municipalities.
"We will continue to shine a light, among all of us, on the scars of these dark days," said the daily, Juventud Rebelde, as it called on all Cubans to take part in this campaign "for the welfare of everybody."
The government threw its full might behind the nationwide effort.
In Havana alone, more than 800 trucks worked to haul waste, supported by cranes, heavy equipment and even carts.
"Now we have to make an effort to recover quickly," Armando Garcia, a computer engineering student, told Xinhua as he loaded a truck with branches and pieces of fallen trees.
Not far from him, Eddy Lara, a soldier, cut a fallen tree with an electric saw, laughing and exclaiming that "it is more difficult than shooting a cannon, but it is what I have to do now."
The Havana Tribune highlighted the recovery work in Havana, which saw a bustle across the city at dawn.
As meetings of Defense Councils were activated at every level of government nationwide, President Raul Castro hailed the importance of this popular mobilization, which has largely been led by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs), a network of neighborhood committees across Cuba.
"The organization today is more useful than ever in each neighborhood, as the CDRs always respond in difficult times such as the ones we are living in," said Carlos Rafael Miranda, national coordinator of the CDRs.
"We are responsible for taking over the streets of our communities and transforming them, namely, by turning voluntary work into a systematic task," he continued.
"We have to raise our heads and move forward," said Luciano Vazquez, a resident of the coastal town of Cojimar.
"It was terrible. I've lived here for 50 years and I've never seen such a furious sea," said Vazquez, 76.
Dulce Arteaga, from the devastated town of Yaguajay in central Cuba, sought the help of her neighbors to remove the trees that broke through the walls of her home.
"We are confident that the resources will come, the Revolution never abandons anybody," she was quoted as saying by the Cuban News Agency on Sunday.
The powerful storm swept most of Cuba's northern coastline over a 72-hour period, claiming 10 lives and causing major damage to much of the island, especially its housing, electric grid, agriculture and tourism.