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European emergency aid to help Cuba and Haiti recover from Hurricane Sandy

Cubans tries to recover belongings from their destroyed house in Antillas population, Holguin province, 750km east of Havana © AFP
08/11/2012  - 

In response to serious damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the European Commission is giving €6 million to those worst-hit in the Caribbean for immediate relief.

Cuba and Haiti suffered the most damage, with respectively 3 and 1.5 million people affected; the Dominican Republic and Jamaica were also badly hit. Crops and harvests are devastated, causing fears of food insecurity, while houses and infrastructure have been destroyed. The immediate priorities are food and clean water, the prevention of waterborne diseases, the containment of cholera, the restoration of shelters and roads.

‘Hurricane Sandy is yet another example of the increasing intensity of natural disasters to which even the best prepared like the United States are not immune. Worst-hit is Haiti, a country still struggling to recover from the 2010 earthquake and cholera epidemic. This year only, Haiti was hit by a drought, followed by tropical storm Isaac in August, and now a large hurricane. The combined impact is overwhelming for an already vulnerable population. Cuba, on the other hand, has excellent disaster preparedness programmes but Sandy had nonetheless caused serious damage. Preparedness cannot prevent a disaster, but it saves lives. This is why we will give first aid to the worst-affected, but we'll also continue to support programmes that reduce the risk of disasters in the Caribbean,’ said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

The European Commission's emergency funding will target Haiti and Cuba: providing food and basic household items, repairing houses and restoring water services. This €6 million in funding will also be used to restore local agriculture by giving seeds and tools to farmers.