Above: damage from Hurricane Sandy in Nicaro, Mayari, Cuba (UN Photo/Juan Pablo Carreras)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Cuba is now beginning to receive aid from United Nations agencies following damage to the country from Hurricane Sandy.
The first shipment of more than 40 tonnes of humanitarian assistance has arrived from Panama in Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second-largest urban centre.
The goodes include waterproofed canvas, water purification tablets, cooking and school kits and other basic commodities.
Another 40-tonne shipment will arrive in the country on Saturday.
“They [meet the] immediate needs of the population,” said Barbara Pesce Monteiro, the UN Resident Coordinator in Cuba. “This is the beginning of a process — we will be supporting the city and the provinces in these next months [by] increasing the humanitarian aid so we can cover a larger number of people.”
Sandy killed 11 people in Cuba after arriving on Oct. 25.
“The United Nations team agreed to support the country through emergency funds,” the UN System in Cuba said. “In coordination with the Cuban government, and taking into account the damaged areas, priority assistance will be initially provided to the city of Santiago de Cuba, one of the most severely damaged by the hurricane.”
The governments of Chile and Colombia have also joined in on the effort.
The UN’s World Food Programme will be sending a similar shipment to Cuba that should arrive in the next 10 days.