Havana, 18 October 2017 – The European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) is providing EUR 700,000 to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to support Cuban families affected by Hurricane Irma, which battered the island on 8 September, with winds of up to 260 kilometres per hour leaving thousands homeless in the northern coast of Cuba.
About 8,000 most affected Cubans in the municipality of Yaguajay, Sancti Spíritus province, will get help to recover from the devastating storm by restoring their homes and living conditions.
The EU funds will also contribute to strengthening the local capacities to withstand recurrent disasters due to extreme weather by promoting hurricane-resilient repair, which will source locally-produced materials. Specialized brigades will be equipped and trained for the placement of ceilings. They will use the technical manuals of roofing from the previous experiences in the eastern region of Cuba after hurricanes Sandy (in October 2012) and Matthew (in October 2016).
“The European Union stands with Cuba in this hour of need, when women, men and children require urgent support,” said Androulla Kaminara, ECHO's Director of Operations for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We are pleased that this will help boost the skills of affected people, so that they themselves build back better, " she added.
The EU’s support responds to the United Nations Action Plan prepared with Cuban authorities, for which UNDP leads the Housing and Early Recovery Sector.
"This initiative is part of UNDP and Cuba’s cooperation framework, following the country's priorities and the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals," said Soledad Bauza, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Cuba. "Agenda 2030 emphasizes the prevention and mitigation of risks as essential elements of sustainable development, leaving no one behind. That is why the project will also pay special attention to groups of families and people in conditions of greater vulnerability. "
This new contribution is in addition to the USD 2.5 million from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the USD 500,000 contributed by UNDP from its own resources for the procurement of tarpaulins, mattresses, roof modules and equipment for local production of construction materials, to help the victims of the center-north of Cuba, from Villa Clara to Camagüey.
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