The latest updates on the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Cuba.
Cuba’s Irma recovery plan: The Cuban government says its official post-Hurricane Irma recovery efforts are well underway. Its first priority is to restore electricity and power, then clean up and repair some 1,400 hurricane-battered schools, which it hopes to reopen later this week. (Granma)
Canadian aid to Cuba: Richard Paterson, Cuba director of the Canadian branch of the international aid agency CARE says it will take months, if not years for the island to recover from Hurricane Irma. In the short term, the organization is gearing up to provide some 10,000 people with cleaning and hygiene supplies, mattresses, building materials, and tools. (Ottowa Citizen)
A Caribbean Marshall Plan? From the once-pristine Leeward Islands to historic streets of Cuba, Hurricane Irma has decimated many parts of the Caribbean, claiming several dozen lives and destroying the livelihoods of millions who have for decades relied on tourism as the main source of income. In the wake of this disaster, British billionaire Richard Branson, founder of the multinational corporation Virgin Group Ltd. and owner of the British Virgin Island of Necker, has called for a ‘Marshall Plan’ to aid in rebuilding the region. (NBC/Associated Press)
An uncertain reconstruction: Hurricane Irma has so far claimed 10 lives in Cuba. It has turned many of the capital’s most picturesque streets into canals and drowned the small businesses housed on their first floors. Like most survivors of Hurricane Irma, the Cubans wonder how they will ever rebuild, and their fears are compounded by the fact that Cuba has practically no money to start that process. (BBC)
The danger of aging infrastructure: Cuba’s aging architecture, much of which collapsed under the pressure of Hurricane Irma, caused the deaths of several people throughout the island. Two women were killed when a balcony that broke off and landed on the bus in which they were riding. Two men were crushed by a falling wall, and three others died under the collapse of crumbling buildings. The government suggested some of these deaths could have been avoided by heeding evacuation orders, and President Raul Castro said the island’s tourist destinations – Cuba’s main source of income – will be repaired in time for the high season, which starts in November. (New York Daily News)
Trump renews trade ban against Cuba: On Friday, as Hurricane Irma pummeled Cuba with record breaking winds, rain, and storm surge, U.S. President Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to squash the country’s central government by renewing the United States’ decades-old trade ban. The Trading with the Enemy Act on Cuba has been extended until September 14, 2018. Meanwhile, Russia, another country under U.S. sanctions, continues to pledge support for the Cuban economy. (Caribbean News Now)