CUBA Need for aid increases after IKE

HAVANA, CUBA (September 10, 2008) – Still reeling from the damage caused by Hurricane Gustav, Cubans have been dealt a second severe blow by Hurricane Ike. CARE is intensifying the call for funds to aid beleaguered Cubans.

IKE hast left a wide track of destruction from the eastern end of the country where it first hit on Sunday evening, to the most western province of Pinar del Rio which had to postpone rehabilitation efforts which had been undertaken after the devastation left by Hurricane GUSTAV 10 days ago.

Damage has been caused by a combination of strong winds, severe rainfall, and storm surges along both the northern and southern shores of the Island of Cuba. Over 1,2 million people were evacuated across the island, or 10 per cent of its total population. Tens of thousands of homes have been significantly affected by Ike, adding a serious stress on the country’s capacity after the more than 110,000 homes destroyed or severely damaged by Gustav.

Full assessment of the damage is not yet possible as telephone communication infrastructure through the affected regions has been significantly affected.

However it is already known that the main damage is concentrated in agriculture, power and telephone systems, homes and economic and social installations. As a result of the large track of the storm, virtually all agricultural activity on the Island has been impacted in varying degrees. Mountainous crops such as coffee and cocoa in the Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba and Granma provinces have been affected by the severe rains. Fruits fields, sugarcane, and all urban and periurban agriculture (the source of most fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in the country) have fallen victim to the force of the storm.

"We are very likely looking at tens of thousands of people without a roof over their heads, and the very real possibility of shortages of essential food staples," said Caroline Poussart, Director of CARE in Cuba.

CARE is appealing to support hurricane relief efforts. Donations can be made to the CARE Canada Emergency Relief Fund by calling 1.800.267.5232, or online at

About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s emergency relief efforts because our experience shows that their gains translate into benefits for families and communities.