The agencies and programs of the United Nations system are coordinating in Havana the assistance to Cuba’s zones most affected by the passage of the devastating Hurricane Irma, which hit the island from east to the west, the state-run television reported today.
The representatives of the UNDP, WFP, UNICEF, FAO and the Pan American health Organization (PAHO) in the Cuban capital met to agree on a strategy to respond to the priorities the Cuban government indicates based on the assessments made of the hurricane’s damages.
The PAHO representative, Cristian Morales, explained that it is mainly a question of supporting the actions of the Ministry of Public Health to ensure the availability of essential services for the population, in the health institutions as well as in the shelters where there are still evacuated persons.
The representative of World Food Program (WFP), Laura Melo, said that her agency is available to provide support “with the entire UN system, in other areas, beyond those related to food, and to establish priorities according to Cuba’s needs.
“We are aware of the magnitude of this natural disaster and the demand for food for the victims, which is why the WFP is already in coordination with the regional office to mobilize additional resources,” Melo specified.
Workers are involved in the restoration of the telephone lines in the zones affected by the passage of Hurricane Irma, today, September 13, in Havana. Some 4,288 homes were damaged during the passage of the powerful hurricane through Havana, where there occurred 157 total and 986 partial collapses, according to preliminary official reports published today.
The WFP has already set in Cuba 1,606 tons of food in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, which are ready for their distribution in the zones most affected by Hurricane Irma, according to its representative on the island.
For UNICEF, María Machicado pointed out they are seeking to ensure that the populations have the conditions to avoid diseases, particularly the quality of the water consumed.
As part of the International aid for the island, the government of Venezuela this Tuesday sent to Havana a plane with the first donation for the Cuban victims with a shipment of 7.3 tons that include mattresses, drinking water and canned food.
Hurricane Irma got to Cuba last Friday as a category 5 hurricane – the maximum on the Saffir-Simpson scale -, later it went down to a category 4 and after its long tour through the country it left a preliminary total of 10 dead, 1.7 million evacuees, strong floods and damages that still have to be quantified.
Mexico to carry out support actions in Cuba and Puerto Rico
Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray ordered the members of Mexico’s diplomatic representations to carry out actions in support of the populations of Cuba and Puerto Rico affected by the passage of Hurricane Irma, the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE) reported today.
In a communiqué, the SRE passed on the Mexican government’s condolences “to the peoples and governments of the Caribbean islands affected by Hurricane Irma,” for the loss of lives and the path of destruction this phenomenon has left in its wake.
“The Mexican government will remain attentive to the development of the situation in the zone and will continue boosting the strength of the capacities and rapid response mechanisms in cases of disasters in the region,” it noted.
Moreover, in both countries the festivities for Mexico’s Independence Day next September 16 will not be carried out and only a civic rally will be held.
The same will occur in the U.S. cities of Houston, Miami and Orlando, where only civic ceremonies will be carried out in the consulates, it noted.
EFE / OnCuba