Havana – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that will provide immediate assistance to people affected by Hurricane Sandy in Cuba.
The operation, to be conducted in coordination with the Government of Cuba during the following weeks, will assist close to half a million people with one-month rations and will concentrate relief efforts on the municipality of Santiago de Cuba, the most severely affected area in the country.
“We are coordinating with the Cuban authorities and the rest of the UN system on the best way to respond to this disaster that has left many people homeless and in need of assistance,” said WFP´s Emergency Coordinator William Vigil.
“We are especially concerned about the damage in the agricultural sector where tens of thousands of hectares of staple crops have been affected. Livestock facilities have also been also seriously damaged, particularly in Santiago, and this humanitarian assistance will help people continue until production capacities are restored,” he added.
Sandy is possibly the single most destructive hurricane experienced by eastern Cuba in the last 50 years. Official sources describe the damage as “substantial”, impacting both rural and urban areas. According to preliminary government reports, more than 200,000 houses are damaged, affecting more than one million people, or about ten per cent of the country’s total population.
The hurricane made landfall through the city of Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second largest urban centre with almost 500,000 inhabitants. It has left thousands of people homeless and without access to electricity and water.
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Sonsoles Ruedas WFP/Cuba Tel +53 7 2042030, Mob +53 5 280 20 65
Alejandro López-Chicheri, WFP/Latin America, Tel.+507 317 3900, Mob.+507 6671 5355
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22917 8564, Mob. +41 794734570
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112
Rene McGuffin, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1 202 6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1 202 4223383