UN Donates Food for Eastern Cuba

November 6, 2012 | Print Print |

For 500,000 victims of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy damaged or destroyed some 200,000 homes in eastern Cuba. Photo: sierramaestra.cu

HAVANA TIMES — The World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it will provide immediate assistance to half a million people in Cuba after Hurricane Sandy caused major devastation to the east of the island, reported DPA news.

The assistance will focus mainly in the province of Santiago de Cuba, the most affected by the storm. The infrastructure of Cuba’s second largest city is still partially collapsed, including a lack of power for 80% of the population, nearly two weeks after the hurricane swept through the Caribbean.

The food rations are for one month, stated the WFP. “We are coordinating with the Cuban authorities and the rest of the UN network to find the best way to respond to this disaster that has left many people homeless and in need of help,” said Emergency Coordinator, William Vigil.

According to WFP, “Sandy” is possibly the most destructive hurricane of the past 50 years in eastern Cuba. A preliminary assessment of the Havana government shows some 200,000 damaged homes and one million people affected by the cyclone.

At least 11 people were killed in the provinces of Santiago and Guantanamo. Besides Santiago, Holguin province was also hard hit. The hurricane left nearly 70 people dead in the Caribbean and more than a hundred in the eastern United States.

WFP also expressed concern about the damage to Cuban agriculture. The eastern provinces grow coffee, plantains and many other important crops for domestic consumption.

To date the government has yet to release overall statistics on the economic damage caused by Sandy. In addition to ravaging the eastern provinces, the hurricane also caused flooding and heavy rainfall in the center of the island, noted DPA.

Raul Castro’s government has mobilized massive material and worker aid to the eastern provinces. UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called Castro last Friday to express condolences and offer support from the funds and programs of the United Nations, said Granma newspaper.

The authorities have called on the population of Havana to make donations to help the victims in the east of the country. Also Cuban opposition groups have organized small collections to support the eastern provinces.

The largest amount of aid received to date has come from the government of Venezuela which has sent assistance to Cuba by sea and air. Also Russia, Ecuador and Bolivia have sent donations to help with the recovery.

 


What's your opinion?

  • Moses

    The hope is that many of the homes in Cuba left barely standing after Superstorm Sandy will be declared uninhabitable, demolished and rebuilt from the ground up. Unfortuneately, now four years after hurricanes Gustav and Ike (I was in Cuba during both) many of the buildings severely impacted by the storms but remain standing are erroneously considered inhabitable. Today, these structures are collapsing almost weekly. It would be wise to take full advantage of the charity coming in to the country from various countries and repair or rebuild now rather than later after further tragedy. Unfortunately, in Santiago de Cuba, for many structures there is no choice but to rebuild. However, in Guantanamo and Holguin there are many homes that would be declared uninhabitable in most countries of the world but in Cuba still provide shelter for 3 and 4 generations of family members. I hope the Castros set aside irresponsible pride and release realistic estimates of the devastation and accept help in rebuilding Cuba no matter where it comes from.

    • Milagros

      Thank u Moses NO MATTER WHERE IT COMES FROM! What is so hard for some to overstand?

  • Lawrence W

    ‘Moses’, you are politicicising a subject that is not suitable for politics, not at this time whilst Cuba is concentrating on coming to terms with the devastation resulting from Sandy. As ‘Luis’ wrote when your buddy ‘Griffin’ did the same for another article about the damage in Santiago, “This is a proof that God doesn’t exist. Because if there was a God, certainly a report about the passage of a hurricane in Santiago de Cuba wouldn’t turn into a stupid propaganda war.”

    So let’s not make this a ‘stupid propaganda war’.

    RE: “It would be wise to take full advantage of the charity coming in to the country from various countries”.

    Most strikingly, not yours, the closest and richest, where politics trump humanity, every time.

    RE: “repair or rebuild now rather than later after further tragedy.”

    Dropping your country’s economic blockade of Cuba would certainly speed up the process but again politics, not humanity have been what matters for more than 50-plus years.

    RE: ” homes that would be declared uninhabitable in most countries of the world.”

    I’ve seen the insides of many Cuban homes. They look rundown outside but are quite habitable. I just had an email from an American friend living in Mexico. She spent the weekend in the home of a Mexican nurse she came to know who lives five hours north of Puerto Vallarta. The home had no running water and outside plumbing but the photos she sent reminded me of Cuba – how nice everything looked inside – clean, neat and pretty.

    What Americans consider to be uninhabitable is not a universal perception. Writing that Cuban homes would be “declared uninhabitable in most countries of the world” is a perception peculiar to yourself, reflecting your anti-Cuba bias.

    It was hard not comparing my friend’s account of her Mexican experience with what exists in Cuba. She visited a family with three children in the village. Two had disabilities and she wrote, “medication for their care has severely depleted the family’s limited financial resources.”

    RE: “I hope the Castros set aside irresponsible pride and release realistic estimates of the devastation”.

    First, it’s ‘el Castro’ not ‘los Castros’. Americans always insist Fidel is still in charge despite all the evidence to the contrary. It must have something to do with investing all that money and energy creating a villain and wanting to have something to show for it. I suppose the Superpacs will want to do the same with Obama.

    HT has reported detailed stats on the damage to property and life resulting from Sandy. I haven’t seen the same forthcoming from the US government. I was particularly impressed with the listing of the names and ages of all 11 of the casualties in Santiago. Has anybody seen the same for the more than 20 deaths on Staten Island, with the same population size?

    RE: accepting “help in rebuilding Cuba no matter where it comes from.”

    Do you mean the US? No, false alarm, that won’t happen I guess.

    • Moses

      The US, historically, is the largest private donor of financial assistance to disaster victims around the world. Our giving runs the gamut from Michael Jackson´s ¨We are the World¨ video to aid starvation in Africa to ex-President Bill Clinton´s recent work in Haiti. And this is as it should be as Americans are generally more disposed to help because of our wealth. A US government response to aid Cuba would be a political nightmare. Who would get the credit, Dems or Reeps? How do you ensure that the regime would not be benefitted? In effect, bad idea. Besides, Santiagueros and Guantanameros who reside in Florida are already mobilising resources and transports to send money and materials to help devastated family members. As usual, you have no idea what you are talking about. Please don´t assume that I would naively be talking about cosmetic defects or creature comforts when I am talking about uninhabitable housing. I am referring to structurally unsound buildings damaged by years of neglect and non-maintenance. These structures are all the more unstable due to hurricane damage. It is well known that due to the high temperatures, concrete construction in Cuba typically dries too fast to ensure optimum durability. That is why there are buildings in Europe three times as old as the structures in Cuba with nowhere near the structural deterioration. Cubans continue to die in these buildings. Now would be the time to address repairs.

  • Milagros

    Its not Castro who is unwilling to accept .Its the way the UN does what they do which is suspect..When i was sent to Haiti to help after the earthquake i came to understand why the Castro Adm is slow to respond or perhaps questions motive..Look at Puerto rico