Friday, December 28, 2012

International aid helps Cuba adapt to climate change

Patricia Grogg in AlertNet via IPS: "Adaptation to climate change is urgent and must be part of development," said Bárbara Pesce-Monteiro, the United Nations resident coordinator in Cuba, assessing the damage done by hurricane Sandy in the eastern region of the country.

She said the damage was very serious, especially in Santiago de Cuba, a city of almost half a million people and a services hub for other towns. In order to support the country at such a difficult time, the United Nations system in Cuba designed an action plan that will serve as a framework for assistance from the international community.

The plan, to be put into effect over the next six to 18 months, will benefit three million people in the most affected provinces: Santiago de Cuba, Holguín and Guantánamo. The main areas of concern are early recovery, housing, water and sanitation, health and education.

Sandy, regarded as the most devastating hurricane to strike the eastern part of the island in the last 50 years, claimed 11 lives in late October and caused considerable losses in housing, educational and health facilities, agriculture and food crops, as well as major interruptions in electricity and water supply, now largely overcome.

United Nations agencies initially mobilised 1.5 million dollars in emergency funding, supplemented by an appropriation of 1.6 million dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The action plan entails seeking 30.6 million dollars to deal with the urgent needs of the population that suffered the brunt of the hurricane's impacts, along with a strategy aimed at improving living conditions for those affected....

Hurricane Sandy damage at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Photo by Sgt. Ryan Hallock Date Taken:10.25.2012, credited to DVIDSHUB, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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