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Cuba: Hurricane Charley Appeal No. 20/04 Final Report

Publication date

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.
In Brief

Request for Assistance No. 20/04; Final Report; Period covered: 8 September 2004 to 8 July 2005; Final coverage of Request for Assistance: 9.1%. The Final Financial Report will be attached shortly.

History of Request for Assistance:

- Launched on 8 September 2004 for CHF 2,419,000 (USD 1,905,168 or EUR 1,576,163) for 6 months to assist 25,000 beneficiaries (5,000 families).

- Operation timeframe extended for four months to 8 July 2005.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 100,000.

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Caribbean: Hurricane Ivan Emergency Appeal (21/04)

Background and Summary

On 13 August 2004, Cuba was severely impacted by the passage of Hurricane Charley which hit at 12.15 hours in the region of Punta Cayama, between Guanimar and El Cajío, on the south coast of the Province of La Habana. Hurricane Charley, a category 3 storm, hit the Provinces of Ciudad de la Habana and La Habana with fierce winds of 170 kph and squalls of over 200 kph. The passage of the storm resulted in flooding of low-lying areas of the south coast, in particular in the Province of La Habana. In anticipation of the storm, the Civil Defence ensured evacuation of 215,532 people from high-risk areas, of whom 35,794 took refuge in temporary shelters, whilst the remainder stayed with families and friends. As a result of the passage of Hurricane Charley, over 70,000 homes incurred damage and thousands of hectares of crops were spoiled. Reports indicate that around 8,000 trees were uprooted and 95 per cent of sugarcane, bean and banana crops were seriously affected. The electricity, water and telephone networks were also severely affected. In addition, in the two Provinces, 798 schools and 312 health centres were damaged. The Province of La Habana was the most severely affected by the Hurricane.

After search and rescue operations had been finalized, Red Cross volunteers continued to assist those who were evacuated. The Cuban authorities undertook preventive measures to avoid the outbreak of disease, given the damage to health centres. Red Cross volunteers worked to support these government initiatives. In the Province of Pinar del Río, telephone communication was interrupted over an eleven day period, although, overall, the Province was less affected by the passage of the hurricane. In addition, at the time of the hurricane, water was being trucked in with tankers; this situation was as a result of drought conditions which were prevalent before Hurricane Charley hit the country. Nevertheless, water systems were further disrupted as a result of the force of the hurricane.

Immediately following the impact of Hurricane Charley, delegates from the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) and the Lima Regional Delegation were deployed to Cuba. These delegates worked with personnel from the Cuban Red Cross on damage and needs assessments, beneficiary surveys and on the design of a communications strategy for the operation. Damage and needs assessments and a beneficiary survey were carried out in coordination with state and local authorities. The National Society also participated in evacuation efforts, provided care to families staying in temporary shelters, provided first aid to sick and injured persons and provided psychosocial support to persons affected by the Hurricane. In addition, the CRC distributed food to beneficiaries and informed the affected population about rules of conduct to be observed in these circumstances.

The Cuban Red Cross and the Federation worked together with government authorities from the Department of International Relations to ensure the provision of wood materials needed complete the installation of zinc sheeting in areas affected by the passage of Hurricane Charley. The CRC also worked with the government to ensure the provision of fuel for the transportation of zinc sheeting from storage warehouses to the selected communities.

A request for assistance for 5,000 vulnerable beneficiary families was issued in early September, given the time necessary for damage and needs assessments to be carried out in isolated, rural communities which were struck by Hurricane Charley. CHF 100,000 was also released from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) in order to start the planned relief assistance activities.

Activities in this emergency appeal were limited by a serious lack of funding, as only 9.1 percent of the total requested amount was received. Given the lack of funding and the slow pace of implementation, the appeal timeframe was extended for four months and was concluded on 8 July 2005.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Cuba: Cuban Red Cross, Dr. Luis Foyo Ceballos, Executive President; email, phone (53) 7 228 272, fax (53) 7 228 272

In Panama: Roy Venegas, Regional Disaster Management Delegate, Panama Regional Delegation; email, phone (507) 317-1300, fax (507) 317-1304

In Geneva: Luis Luna, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email, phone (41 22) 730-4273, fax (41 22) 733-0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

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