Cuban government officials confirmed Irma’s death toll of 10 causalities on Monday. Seven lives were lost in Havana while the last remaining three lives were lost in Matanza, Camaguey and in the regions of Ciego de Avila.
With frenetic winds of around 157-mph, Hurricane Irma became Cuba’s second Category 5 storm since 1932. Demolishing the Caribbean island for three consecutive days, Irma’s eye submerged streets of Havana, causing citizens to trudge down chest high waters of 36 feet in the aftermath of the cyclone. Ceilings caved in while feeble infrastructure perished in the debris. Tree roots were weeded from the ground and tumbled over, cutting power lines and blocking roadways.[caption id="attachment_99528" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Tree blocking Caibarien street (Desmond Boylan / AP)[/caption]
Considering Cuba’s static economy, it will take months and even years until the island is fully recovered from this destruction. “Given the immensity of its size, practically no region escaped its impact,” Raul Castro issued a statement on Monday.
Millions of citizens continue to have no electricity and no accessible water. “Large parts of the country, including many areas of the capital Havana, are without power and running water,” the travel warning stated.[caption id="attachment_99531" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Man in Havana Street (Yamil Lage / AFP / Getty)[/caption]
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Firstly, whenever you plan on giving your money to organizations, you must research all that you can about your preferred organization. Various non-profit charities do not deliver and keep the donations for themselves. It is paramount that you gather as much information as you can to make sure the organization you are about to give your money to is legitimate.
I have seen more than a dozen donation pages for Irma victims in the Caribbean but not a single one for Cuba. Due to Cuba’s politics, people tend to forget and neglect the island when they need others most. Below is a list of organizations I’ve researched who work closely with Cubans. I suggest you call and ask which province the money and items will go to.
Do not leave Cuba out of the Irma discussion. Share these links with your family, friends and coworkers. Ask your local Irma relief drive if it is possible to send items to Cuban residents. Boost FundMe pages of Cuban families who have relatives living in the United States. Update yourself on the recovery process. Do not forget about the lives struggling to rebuild what once was theirs.
Credit Feature Image: Yamil Lage / AFP / Getty