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After completing a fact-finding mission in Cuba to identify those most in need, Oxfam is working with partners and Cuban officials to respond to the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Irma.
One of the most powerful storms in recent history, Irma killed ten people on the island and caused damage to 13 of Cuba’s 15 provinces. Oxfam toured the hardest-hit areas, finding collapsed roofs, flooded fields, downed trees and power lines, and a collapse of electricity and water supply systems.
Cuba’s tourism, energy and agricultural sectors have been severely impacted, with the northern coast and the eastern and central regions bearing the brunt. An estimated two million Cubans had to leave their homes with 50,000 seeking refuge at evacuation centers. Many people, whose livelihoods have been disrupted, have since returned to their homes to find them damaged.
Jerome Faure, Oxfam’s Country Director in Cuba said: “Oxfam is encouraged by the resilience and spirit of the Cuban people, even in the face of such devastation from this vicious storm. At the same time, we know that the recovery effort they face will be long and difficult.”
Oxfam is preparing to respond in the province of Camagüey in the municipalities of Esmeralda and Minas. The aim is to reach at least 8,500 people with lifesaving water, sanitation, and hygiene services, along with emergency shelter and support to agricultural cooperatives.
“An important part of Oxfam’s work will be raising the awareness of the specific needs of women and girls in this crisis situation as they are at an increased risk of health issues and violence. By promoting basic hygiene measures and addressing the food insecurity created by Irma, Oxfam can greatly reduce these risks,” said Faure.