After Hurricane Sandy passed over the eastern side of the island, they wrote from Havana: “The city of Santiago and the surrounding areas were hit strongly. It was expected to be a tropical storm but in a few hours it turned into a category 3 hurricane. The worst situations involved the destruction of homes and farmlands.”
According to government sources, at first count 15,392 homes have been totally destroyed and 36,544 partially destroyed. This does not include the number of hospitals, schools, churches and other public infrastructure. The damages caused by the hurricane have comprimised already comprimised housing situations.
The situation is quite difficult. There is a scarcity of food supplies and reconstruction materials. After a week, the electricity has been restored.
The Focolare community – especially young people and teenagers – have been very actively involved in providing help, unblocking the roads and repairing damaged buildings in the quarters. They are preparing meals for the poor in local parishes.
They write: “A group from Havana travelled right away with a van full of food supplies and basic supplies, but especially to be with the people and share their pain and suffering, trying to help in any way they could. We brought the supplies into their homes, and the people couldn’t find enough words to thank us! Everything arrived at just the right moment. In one family there was no more salt, in another no candles or matchsticks. Others hadn’t eaten in days. . . Above all, we brought comfort and support from the Movement around the world. Our own city was devsastated, but, nevertheless, the mutual love among us grew stronger and the sense of brotherhood towards all helps us in not being defeated by the sadness.”
The Focolare NGO (Azione per un Mondo Unito), supports several micro-businesses in Cuba with future development prospects. Moreover it has offered help in repairing damages caused by previous hurricanes. A pilot project is presently underway that would involve similar future projects on a vaster scale.
To know more or to support the project:
AMU (Action for a United World) – http://www.amu-it.eu
Associazione Azione per un Mondo Unito
c/- Banca Popolare Etica (Rome Branch)
Description: “Progetto: La mia casa è la tua casa”