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Hurricane Sandy Hits Cuba
Geneva, 26 October 2012
Description of the emergency
Hurricane Sandy hit Cuba on Wednesday 24th leaving 11 people dead.  The Cuban meteorological institute forecasts strong winds, heavy raining, flooding and sea surge including eight meters high waves over the provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Las Tunas, Camaguey and Sancti Spiritus. These are very vulnerable provinces and there is a concern due to the forecast of 24 hours of heavy raining over soils that are saturated due to previous raining.
ACT response is needed to support the Cuban Council of Churches (CCC) to activate the network of churches and ecumenical organizations to support humanitarian needs among the population which cannot be covered by the government. This includes food aid, water, mattresses, bed clothing, hygiene kits, water containers and psychological assistance. This aid will support vital needs in terms of nutrition and health.
National and international response
The Cuban civil defence is evacuating people who live in vulnerable areas. Special protection is provided to vulnerable people including sick, disabled, girls, boys, women, and elderly people. Important food products are transported to the area. Water quality control, monitor of dams’ levels, and evaluation of vulnerable houses and infrastructure, are also conducted. The network of the health system has been also activated.
ACT Alliance response
CCC has activated its emergency committee in Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Granma and Holguin. A delegation of the CCC will travel to the area on Monday 29th to support local churches. CCC has also established communication with other ACT members in the Caribbean, including Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica. The emergency committee is also formed by the Christian Centre for Reflexion and Dialogue (CCRD) and the Memorial Centre Martin Luther King Jr. (CMMLK), and the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) national board has been activated to participate. Communication has already been established with the government office for the “Attention of Religious Affairs” in the affected provinces.
The CCC is revising all the information coming from the civil defence, including the assessment which is expected after the hurricane leaves the island. Food aid, water, mattresses, bed clothing, hygiene kits, water containers and psychological assistance are to be provided. The response is to be implemented in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Holguin and Las Tunas, with Granma as a priority due to its level of vulnerability. The locations include Guama and Tercer Frente in Santiago de Cuba; Yara, Bartolome Maso, Manzanillo, Niquero and Pilon in Granma; Gibara, Banes, Antilla and Moa in Holguin; Puerto Padre, Amancio Rodriguez, Jobabo, Colombia and Manati in Las Tunas. The target population is estimated to be 50,000 people. CCC is requesting for support from the ACT rapid response mechanism.
CCC has resource constraints, faces limited communication conditions in the country (including limited internet, and lack of coverage of land and mobile telephones) as well as lack of transportation means (cars, trucks, etc.).
Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, Director of Finance at the ACT Secretariat on: firstname.lastname@example.org