Response to Hurricane Irma: Cuba Situation Report No. 6. Office of the Resident Coordinator (13/09/2017)

Report
from UN Country Team in Cuba
Published on 13 Sep 2017

This report is produced by the Office of the Resident Coordinator. It covers the period from 14:00 hrs. on September 012th to 12:00 hrs. on September 13th.The next report will be issued on or around 14/09.

Highlights

• The First Vice President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, visited three thermoelectric power stations in western Cuba, which were hard hit by Hurricane Irma. The strength of the winds and coastal inundation affected the whole national electric power system.

• More than 3.1 million people remain without water service. Service has been restored in about half of the supply systems damaged by Hurricane Irma. Restoration of services depends mainly on the electric power system rehabilitation.

• Preliminary data shows severe damage to the housing sector. The hurricane damaged 95% of homes in Bolivia and Ciego de Avila´s Municipalities.

• The loss of 10,000 hectares of bananas and other foods, vegetables, grains and fruit trees has been confirmed. Serious damage to poultry and pig production has also been confirmed. The damage significantly affects the daily life of local inhabitants in the affected territories.

• More than 1,700 schools were affected by Hurricane Irma´s winds and rains throughout the country, 500 of which are in the capital city. Depending on the degree of damage, the school system has gradually restarted at all levels of education.

Situation overview

The 13 affected Cuban provinces are concentrating their forces on the recovery of vital services for the population and on the evaluation of the severity of the damage. Territorial teams have joined specialized brigades from the least affected provinces and the population, which help in the collection of debris and fallen trees and the cleaning of streets.

The reestablishment of electricity services remains one of the main priorities of the country, due to its impact on other services vital to the population, such as the public water supply, and their impact on the recovery of the rest of the economic sector. Authorities have reported the complexity of recovery because Hurricane Irma affected the integrity of the national energy system.

In the presence of serious impacts in the housing sector, the Ministry of Finance and Prices announced that priority will be given to granting subsidies to people whose homes were damaged.

Today, national media published recommendations on how to proceed at home after a hurricane. Among health and food councils, it is advised to move away from unstable buildings and structures, to stay away from damaged buildings, and to immediately move to the street if there is any abnormal noise that may indicate a danger of collapsing.

As part of the damage assessment, it was announced today that national specialists have estimated the effects caused to biodiversity during the hurricane, mainly in marine and northern coastal areas of the country.

Yesterday, the first airplane with humanitarian aid for people affected by the hurricane arrived from Venezuela. The cargo of 7.3 tons is composed of mattresses, water and canned foods.

Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam have expressed their solidarity and willingness to provide assistance to the island.