Hurricane Irma hits Cuba | Humanitarian Coalition
Hurricane Irma hits Cuba
September 2017

Hurricane Irma struck Cuba as a Category 5 storm in early September. Winds of up to 200 km/h pummeled the island, particularly the north central coast. The winds, intense rain and flooding caused power outages, damaged homes and infrastructure, destroyed crops and contaminated water sources. Ten peopled died and close to 200,000 households were directly affected.

Humanitarian Assistance: 

Shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene services

People Helped: 
Funds provided: 
Global Affairs Canada: 
Oxfam Canada: $48,000
Humanitarian Coalition: 
Humanitarian Needs: 

More than two million people were evacuated toemergency centres and to safer homes on higher ground. Camaguey, the country’s third largest city, was hit particularly hard. Damage to the power grid, communications and agriculture has put hundreds of thousands of people at risk. Flooding has destroyed sanitation systems and contaminated cisterns, leaving entire municipalities with no access to safe water. This increases the risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera. In the hardest-hit areas, up to 90% of homes and shelters have either been damaged or destroyed.

Humanitarian Response: 

Assist most affected families, particularly female-headed households, with their shelter needs and increase access to potable water, hygiene and protection

• Provide 1,500 shelter kits (including tarps, rope, mosquito nets and mattresses) and training required to help residents build shelters.
• Distribute 1,500 hygiene kits, water tanks, jerry cans, filters and water purification tablets.
• Conduct awareness-raising session on disease prevention and safety and security to inform residents of increased risk of diseases caused by the disaster.

Organizational Capacity: 

Oxfam has been on the ground in Cuba for more than 25 years, responding to all major disasters in the country - including Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Oxfam has implemented
resilience and risk reduction programs in the affected regions, and has developed strong relationships with local partners - both government and other humanitarian organizations. Oxfam’s team on the ground includes 10 Cuban staff with extensive development and humanitarian experience.

More about this disaster: 

Assistance for smaller-scale disasters is funded by Global Affairs Canada (75%), the member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition (15%), and the Humanitarian Coalition (10%) through the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund.