November 1, 2012
The Canadian Network on Cuba launches its
"Sandy Relief Fund" Campaign
At 1:25 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25th, Hurricane Sandy entered Cuba
just west of Santiago de Cuba as a category 2 hurricane. However
the extent and speed of Sandy gave it a destructive capability as great
as any of the category 5 hurricanes. Its central path took it rapidly
through the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Holguín and Guantánamo,
the former two provinces being the most populous in Cuba after
the City of Havana.
The hurricane devastated the heroic city of Santiago de Cuba,
destroying houses, damaging public buildings and monuments,
leaving the city without water supply, electricity, shops, markets
and trees. Despite massive evacuations, it took a toll of some 11
human lives, an unusually high number in Cuba for hurricanes
(mainly by collapsing buildings) — 132,733 houses were affected
with 15,322 totally destroyed and 43,426 losing roofs. Massive damage,
not yet fully calculated, was caused in Guantánamo and Holguín
before the hurricane left this province near Banes, precisely where
hurricane Ike had entered four years earlier.
President Raúl Castro, visiting Santiago de Cuba on Sunday, Oct. 28,
said that only urgent temporary measures can be taken and that the
recovery of Santiago would take years.
The emergency measures are well underway. Roads to healthcare
centres and other essential services were speedily cleared. Linemen
have been arriving from seven provinces to work together with local
ones to restore electricity and telephone services. Roofing materials
are arriving from neighbouring provinces such as Las Tunas.
Temporary systems have been set up to provide 85%
of the affected population with drinking water, and food supplies
have been arriving from throughout Cuba to Santiago
and other severely affected parts of eastern Cuba.
Cultural activity has not been overlooked, with some cultural centres
being promptly and reopened, with artists from different parts of the
country to join local artists in lifting the spirits of the people.
Good friends of Cuba have also been prompt to supply assistance.
Venezuela, for example, has given 650 tons of help including
non-perishable food, drinking water and heavy machinery to Cuba,
with some going to Haiti. However, the need remains great.
Cuba continues to give its help to Haiti, which, although not directly
hit by Sandy, suffered much destruction from flooding, with scores
of lives lost.
Cuban provinces as far east as Villa Clara and Cienfuegos
suffered from high winds and flooding due to heavy rainfall.
Canadians have responded generously in the past to disasters
affecting Cuba and other Caribbean countries suffering from
natural disasters. With great gratitude we recall that from coast to
coast they responded to requests from the Canadian Network on Cuba,
the umbrella group representing friendship organizations with Cuba.
We forwarded to Cuba after 2008, when the country was ravaged
by three hurricanes, more than $404,000.00cad.
When on January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered the horrific earthquake,
the CNC, recognizing that the most effective way of helping Haiti was
by doing so through Cuba, mounted its TO CUBA FOR HAITI Campaign,
which so far has collected and sent to the Cuban Medical Brigade
in Haiti $453,728.12 cad.
Cuba needs substantial help, both immediate and long term, in order to overcome the crisis brought on by hurricane Sandy. Cuba’s Ministry
of External Commerce (MINCEX) is establishing an account to receive
the financial contributions. As in all our previous fundraising efforts,
every single penny donated will go to Cuba. Charitable tax receipts
will be provided.
Our experience with regard to Cuba's response to natural disasters is
that it knows how to multiply the value of any donations it receives.
We feel confident, based on the island's unsurpassed humanitarian
work both within Cuba and in other countries, that it has the skills,
the organization and the ethical and moral values to put whatever aid
it receives to the best possible use.
1) payable to the ‘Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund’ and mail
to the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund, Att: Sharon Skup
56 Riverwood Terrace Bolton, ON L7E 1S4
Please also write:
"CNC Sandy Relief Fund" on your cheque's memo line.
Charitable receipts will be issued by the
Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund in 4-8weeks
(Charitable Org - Revenue Canada Reg, #88876 9197R0001).
There will be no administrative charges, not even for
postage stamps or anything else.
Keith Ellis, Coordinator, CNC Sandy Relief Fund
(905 822 1972; firstname.lastname@example.org)Canada-Cuba Labour Solidarity
Isaac Saney, CNC Co-Chair and National Spokesperson
Elizabeth Hill, CNC Co-Chair and Treasurer
Heide Trampus, Worker to Worker,