Over a week after Hurricane Irma’s ferocious winds and storm surge ravaged Cuba, people in the hardest-hit areas of the Caribbean island are still struggling to meet their basic needs.
Thanks to $320,000 from the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF), Oxfam Canada will help approximately 4,500 people in the province of Camagüey with immediate necessities. The storm damaged or destroyed more than 90 per cent of the homes in the municipality of Esmerelda on the northern part of the island.
With extensive damage to large parts of the country, the Cuban government’s response is highly focused on re-establishing access to public services, such as electricity and communications; clearing and re-opening roads; and distributing food in government-run shelters.
As such, civil society is complementing that response by addressing shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene needs of individual families, particularly the most vulnerable.
“In collaboration with local government and authorities, Oxfam and its local partners identified most vulnerable families in Esmerelda, with a focus on female-headed households,” says Victoria Hopkins, Humanitarian Manager at Oxfam Canada. “Thanks to the CHAF, which allows us to access funds quickly in times of disasters, we will be able to support 1,500 families.”
These families are receiving emergency shelter items such as tarpaulins, ropes, mosquito nets and mattresses. Oxfam will also provide gender-sensitive hygiene kits, water tanks, water filters and purification tablets.
This response will ensure the maintenance of hygiene practices, access to potable water and containment of the spread of disease.
The Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund is a joint mechanism between the Humanitarian Coalition, its member agencies and Global Affairs Canada that allows a quick disaster response, thereby saving more lives.