Response to Hurricane Irma: Cuba Situation Report No. 13 - Office of the Resident Coordinator (20/09/2017)



  • Although many people have returned to their homes, thousands of people remain evacuated due to the partial or total destruction of their homes as a result of the strong winds of Hurricane Irma.

  • About 500 schools as well as with other public institutions continue to serve as shelters for people affected by the hurricane.

  • Over 200,000 birds in the poultry sector are reported dead, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

  • The Cuban Civil Defense issued an early warning for Thursday, 21 September on Hurricane Maria, which will impact the eastern part of the country with winds, rains and coastal flooding. This region was hit by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Matthew last year.

  • The United Nations System in Cuba presented its Action Plan to mobilize US $55.8 million to support 2.15 million affected people.

Situation overview

Powerful Hurricane Irma devastated rural and coastal communities, mainly in the western and central part of the country. In these areas, most of the homes and facilities that provide public services were lost. People have lost their livelihoods and their sources of income.

Among the prioritized activities for the most affected territories are food distribution; agriculture recovery; rehabilitation of homes, warehouses and schools; and the provision of water supply, electric power, and health services.

After the hurricane, authorities have emphasized the need to implement measures to prevent the spread of insects and rodents, disease vectors that could complicate the current health situation.

Humanitarian Response

National Authorities

The Vice President of the Council of State and Ministers, Ramiro Valdés, confirmed the main damage caused by Hurricane Irma in Villa Clara Province is to housing, industry, and crop production. He encouraged an increase in the production of building materials in each territory to support people who lost their homes.

The Head of the Cuban Civil Defense, together with local authorities, visited towns in the northern area of the central province of Sancti Spíritus, one of those affected by the hurricane. He shared the experiences of people and property protection during Hurricane Irma’s impacts.

The Cuban Civil Defense is monitoring the evolution of Hurricane Maria, currently a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, and will continue to inform the population about measures and protective actions to be followed. It also expressed the need for continuing cleaning and sanitation activities in the northern coastal areas of the Eastern Provinces.

International Cooperation

Two planes with emergency supplies donated by Japan arrived in Havana on 19 September, part of international aid received following Hurricane Irma. The load consisted of 37 generators, 40 water purifiers, 30 water tanks, and 2,000 portable tanks.

Suriname, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam, have expressed their solidarity and willingness to provide assistance to the country.