On 8-10 September 2017, category 5 hurricane Irma, with winds reaching 250 km per hour, struck Cuba resulting in strong winds, rains and coastal flooding.
According to the Cuban Civil Defence, 10.1 million people in thirteen of Cuba’s fifteen provinces were affected by the hurricane: Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spíritus, Villa Clara and Camaguey were reported as the worst affected provinces, in addition to a serious impact recorded in the provinces of Holguin, Las Tunas, Guantanamo, and Matanzas.
Thanks to preparedness efforts, more than two million people (18% of the Cuban population) were evacuated to either centres authorized by local governments or to the homes of relatives or friends, in compliance with the guidelines of the Cuban Civil Defence General Staff. A significant number of people remain evacuated as they cannot return to their homes.
WFP Cuba will support the Government to meet the immediate food needs of the worst affected communities, to prevent a deterioration in their food security. Particular attention will be provided to needs of the most vulnerable groups. The quick availability of funds will allow for the local procurement of commodities to ensure the timeliness of WFP’s response.
WFP will contribute to cover the gap between the food needs of the affected population and the ration provided by the public distribution system. This gap is normally bridged by families’ food production and market purchases. The passage of hurricane Irma, however, has destroyed extensive areas of agricultural production, disrupted local markets, thus limiting the access and availability of food in affected communities.
WFP will provide assistance to 664,000 people in 22 municipalities identified in collaboration with national authorities in the northern coastal areas of the worst affected provinces of Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spíritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas and Camaguey.The IR EMOP will be implemented for one month, from 15 September to 15 October 2017.