Oxfam helping residents of Caribbean islands devastated by hurricane Sandy

October 2012 - Oxfam geared up to help Haitians and Cubans in the wake of hurricane Sandy’s devastation in the Caribbean. Steps to prevent cholera spreading in Haiti and to provide roofs for houses in Cuba were among priorities.

 

Fifty-one people were killed in Haiti and eleven in Cuba as Sandy’s torrential rains and strong winds pummeled the region Oct. 24-25th, causing floods, knocking out power and water, ruining crops and damaging homes.

“Sandy left Cuba at Banes in Holguin, the same point where hurricane Ike hit the country in 2008 and near the well know beach of Guardalavaca where thousands of Canadians spend their holidays each year,” Beat Schmid, Oxfam country director in Cuba said. “We hope Canadians show in this difficult moments their solidarity with the affected people. Oxfam wants to rebuild 800 roofs in Cuba at a cost of $1,200 CAD each. With your help we can do it and Cuban people will appreciate it."
 


Image: Cuban Granma news agency

In Haiti, Oxfam mobilized local organizations trained in cholera prevention for a large campaign in four regions of the country to ensure basic drinkable water and safe sanitation in some urban and rural areas .

Amelie Gauthier of Oxfam said: “People have been evacuated and transported to safer grounds. Their homes have been flooded. They need basic relief like new plastic sheeting and hygiene kits.

“One area in Croix-des-Bouquets, we spoke to several families who now live with 160 families, more than 500 people, in a fire station. There are pregnant women and young children as part of that one shelter.

“The lack of access to basic drinkable water and safe sanitation in some urban and rural areas are being closely monitored in the most difficult conditions.


Image: Juventud rebelde news

“We’re also concerned at initial reports of destruction of agricultural crops caused by hurricane Sandy in the south. The south of Haiti is already food insecure because of the drought and the impacts of tropical storm Isaac. We’re following the situation closely as this will affect thousands of farmers for the planting seasons as well as school nutrition programs.

“Oxfam is supporting local authorities, the Civil Protection Agency (DPC) and the National Direction for Water and Sanitation (DINEPA) in various localities in the Region des Palmes, providing them with transport, logistics and equipment for now. We are preparing hygiene kits, cholera prevention kits for distribution for some temporary shelters.”

Sandy was described as the most devastating hurricane to strike the eastern provinces of Cuba in half a century. There was widespread damage to housing, infrastructure and agriculture. More than 1.2 million people lost electricity and water.

Beat Schmid, Oxfam country director in Cuba said the hurricane destroyed many homes and other facilities in the historic city of Santiago de Cuba, the second-largest city in Cuba.  About 1.5 million of the 11 million inhabitants of the country were directly affected. More than 150,000 homes, housing about 600,000 residents, were damaged.

“Sandy left Cuba at Banes in Holguin, the same point where hurricane Ike hit the country in 2008 and near the well know beach of Guardalavaca where thousands of Canadians spend their holidays each year,” Schmid said. “We hope they and other Canadians show in this difficult moments their solidarity with the affected people. Oxfam wants to rebuild 800 roofs in Cuba at a cost of $1,200 CAD each. With your help we can do it and Cuban people will appreciate it."

Donate to Oxfam's Emergency Response Fund Here.