ShelterBox Responds to Hurricane Sandy

Photograph by NASA - NASA’s Earth Observatory

Photograph by NASA – NASA’s Earth Observatory

Hurricane Sandy ripped through Cuba and Haiti last week before it reached the United States, destroying livelihoods and infrastructure with its high winds, heavy rains and flooding. ShelterBox has been identifying emergency shelter needs in the three affected countries for the thousands of impacted families.

Sandy made landfall in Southeast Cuba on 25 October with winds of about 177 kilometres per hour, only 1.5 kilometres per hour below the status of a major Category 3 hurricane. It damaged around 200,000 houses, including 50,000 that lost their roofs, and destroyed over 15,000 homes, affecting about 1.1 million people, according to the latest United Nations (UN) estimations. At least 11 lives were also lost.

Cuba is frequently lauded by the UN as being one of the best prepared countries in terms of natural disasters: its highly developed meteorological service, early warning system and regularly practiced drills have probably saved thousands of lives. However, buildings were in poor repair before the storm due to lack of funds and materials, and they were therefore vulnerable to damage.

Lack of electricity and poor communications have hampered efforts to get reliable information about the full extent of the damage in the Caribbean country. A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has arrived in country to assess the need for emergency aid.

Read more here: SANDY

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