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Cuba: Hurricanes Isidore and Lili Appeal No. 29/2002 Operations Update No. 2

Publication date

Appeal No. 29 /2002; Launched on: 8 October 2002 for 6 months for CHF 597,000 to assist 10,000 beneficiaries. The operation has been extended until 31 October 2003.
Appeal coverage: 75.2%

Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Allocated: N/A

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This is the interim final report on the Cuban Red Cross (CRC) relief operation following hurricanes Isidore and Lili, and is accompanied by an interim final financial report. The operation has been extended to 31 October 2003 and the final report will be issued in January 2004.


In late 2002, two hurricanes hit the island of Cuba in the space of just 11 days; Hurricane Isidore struck on 20 September and Hurricane Lili struck on 2 October. Isidore, a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale and Lili, a category 1 hurricane, reached wind speeds of 165 and 130 km/hour respectively. One person was killed as a result of a landslide. Over a million people were evacuated by the Civil Defence, assisted by Cuban Red Cross volunteers. Some 77,275 of these people had to be housed in shelters. The worst damage was caused by flooding as a result of the heavy rains that hit the western region of the country and the southern coast of the eastern provinces. Storm surges resulted in the loss of many families' belongings and household goods. The areas most affected by Isidore were the Isle of Youth and eight municipalities in the province of Pinar del Río. Following Lili, heavy rain caused serious damage in four municipalities in the province of Granma and three municipalities in the province of Santiago de Cuba.

Around 50,000 houses were damaged throughout the country, 37,000 of which were in the province of Pinar del Río; 17,481 houses were totally destroyed. Some 14 hospitals and 400 schools were affected, as were the electricity and communications networks. Cattle and poultry w ere lost as well as crops of fruit, coffee and tobacco.

A damage and needs assessment was conducted in the wake of the hurricanes in the municipalities and communities affected. Assessment team members assisted the population in removing debris from buildings and homes and clearing away fallen trees and mud.

Damage to housing was as follows:

Worst affected Provinces
Worst affected Municipalities
Total number of damaged houses
Pinar del Río San Juan y Martínez, San Luis, Guane, Minas de Matahambre, Sandino, Mantua, La Palmar, Pinar del Río
Isle of Youth Isle of Youth
Granma Pilón, Manzanillo, Bayazmo y Niquero
Santiago de Cuba Guamá, III Frente, Santiago de Cuba


The Cuban Red Cross has maintained close coordination with the provincial and municipal branches involved in disaster response, and has worked in close cooperation with the government authorities and state bodies that make up the civil defence system. A coordination committee was formed out of the National Society and the provincial branches of the affected areas to facilitate the compilation and analysis of information and the coordination between institutions and governments. Coordination was ensured with NGOs, PNSs, community leaders and beneficiaries, as well as with the regional delegation in Santo Domingo (a sub regional office as of January 2003) and the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU). In addition, the Cuban Red Cross mobilized approximately 4,000 volunteers to assist in the relief effort.

Once the hurricanes had passed, the coordination committee began evaluating the damage and identifying the primary needs. Needs assessments were done using beneficiary surveys that were carried out in close collaboration with local government offices and community organizations. Government and municipal authorities assisted by providing transportation and fuel in order to facilitate the distribution of relief goods.

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