Cuba: Rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy
Nine months ago, Hurricane Sandy swept through the Caribbean and the U.S. Atlantic coast, leaving behind a path of death and destruction. In Cuba, the category 2 hurricane made landfall on 25 October 2012, and although the population was warned hours before, many were not prepared for the intensity of the storm. Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second largest city, was directly hit by the storm and suffered the most damages. 11 people died, 185,000 houses were severely damaged, and 15,000 houses were completely destroyed. Many families are still homeless today.
Malteser International (the International Relief agency of the Order of Malta), together with the Cuban Association of the Order of Malta and the Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba, is helping rebuild 61 severely damaged homes for more than 300 residents in the most affected regions. The organization will supply roofing and construction materials as well as replace damaged home furnishings such as mattresses, sheets and basic household appliances.
In addition, Malteser International will help train the helpers of its Cuban partners. “We would like to help them develop their knowledge on the principles of humanitarian aid,” explains Michael Thanner, program manager for Cuba at Malteser International. For this purpose, Malteser International will conduct workshops on the SPHERE project, an internationally recognized set of common principles and universal standards for humanitarian response. “These trainings will serve to streamline the local helpers’ efforts and to provide them with relevant knowledge about disasters, as they will continue to strike the island in the future,” Thanner added.