CRS responds to Cuba hurricane crisis
September 16, 2008, Baltimore, MD -- Hurricanes Gustav and Ike tore through Cuba on August 30th and September 9th causing $5 billion in damages according to Cuban government estimates. Gustav's winds reached over 200 mph in Los Palacios, and rains from both storms caused sea swells and flooding throughout the island.
Over 3 million were evacuated, 444,000 homes suffered complete or partial roof collapses, and more than 63,000 residences were demolished. Schools, hospitals, water distribution, agriculture, and the electrical system received severe blows from the combination of wind, rain, and flooding. Downed trees, power lines, and swollen rivers cut towns off from the rest of the island. The provinces of Pinar del Río, Las Tunas, Holguin, Camaguey, and the Isle of Youth are the most affected
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and its partners Daughters of Charity SVP and Catholic Charities Miami are responding with an initial shipment of 170,000 pounds of emergency food and supplies. This first shipment is estimated at a value of $235,000.
"This initial delivery of supplies will be used towards our goal of assisting at least 20,000 Cubans," says Lynn Renner, CRS regional representative for the Caribbean. "We are in the process of preparing an additional 80 tons of food and roofing supplies for the people of Cuba."
The Miami-based Daughters of Charity SVP and teams of volunteers have been working around the clock filling boxes with donated goods. Boxes of relief supplies have over run the sistersí homes and spilled out on to their driveways. The goods are classified in accordance to the Cuban and U.S. government regulations. Two containers were taken to the port of Miami and will soon be en route to Cuba. Each container will go directly to CRS partner Caritas Cubana and will be delivered by them in conjunction with local Cuban officials.
"There is no precedent for an emergency of this magnitude," says Caritas Cubana director Maritza Sanchez, "In the past weíve been able to purchase available supplies and offer assistance immediately, but the market is facing a shortage. We are in need of food, water, hygiene kits, roofing supplies, and household items such as sheets, towels, and blankets."
As Cubans face the arduous task of rebuilding, CRS will assist their efforts with continued shipments of food and supplies via our Caritas partner.
How to Help:
Donate via phone: 1-877-HELP-CRS
Donate online: www.crs.org
Write a check:
Catholic Relief Services
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090