Note: The following appeal is now closed.  You can support our ongoing work by donating to the Canadian Red Cross

 

The 2008 hurricane season has left a devastating mark on Cuba.

Hurricanes Faye, Gustav and Ike swept through the country causing widespread damage to homes, schools and livelihoods.

Gustav is widely considered to be the strongest storm to strike Cuba in 50 years affecting more than  60 per cent of the country.

As the clean-up effort began, another powerful storm made its way into the region. Hurricane Ike cut through the country causing further damage and challenging humanitarian efforts.

More than 1.45 million people were evacuated before Hurricane Ike swept through, and more than 400,000 people took refuge in shelters. It is estimated that the storms have caused five billion dollars worth of damage to schools, health facilities, infrastructure, crops and livelihoods. Over 444,000 homes were damaged and 63,000 destroyed.

Red Cross response in Cuba was immediate. Today more than 4,000 local volunteers continue to provide emergency shelter, first aid and psychological support to survivors.

The Canadian Red Cross has provided $75,000 to support relief efforts currently underway in Cuba. Red Cross personnel and stock remain on standby if needed. The Canadian Government has also made a contribution of $200,000 to support Red Cross relief efforts in Cuba.

Due to the continuing and urgent needs in Cuba, the Canadian Red Cross is appealing to the public to support these efforts by making a financial donation.Canadians wishing to donate may do so online, by calling toll-free 1-800-418-1111 or in-person at any Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked “Cuba Hurricane” and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.

In-kind donations of food, clothing and other items, while well intentioned, are not the best way to help those in need. There are tremendous processing and transportation costs involved in shipping these items to beneficiaries. Local purchases of food and clothing are more culturally appropriate and effective. Red Cross supplies can be purchased in the immediate area, thereby reducing transportation costs. Cash transfers to the affected region provide the optimum flexibility to our Red Cross colleagues so they can meet the most urgent needs.