On January 27, 2019, a violent F4 tornado hit Cuba’s capital city of Havana, causing serious damage and affecting the lives of 532,000 people. Humanity & Inclusion, which has been working in Cuba since 1998, launched an emergency project that will support 830 families, including 200 people with disabilities.
The devastating effects of the tornado
The F4 tornado covered 12.4 miles in only 16 minutes, striking five municipalities and affecting 532,000 people. 196 were wounded and six were killed. The storm destroyed homes, hospitals, schools, and other infrastructure. In the aftermath of the catastrophe, 200,000 Cubans found themselves without electricity and 12,600, without access to clean water. Despite the reactivity of public services and the solidarity displayed by the population, the country needs help.
Launching an emergency project
In the weeks following the tornado, Humanity & Inclusion, along with OXFAM and CARE, launched a new emergency project to meet the population’s essential needs. The goal: securing better living and sanitary conditions for the families affected.
The project includes the distribution of hygiene kits, household items, and reconstruction kits, as well as actions to facilitate access to clean water. Humanity & Inclusion will also provide mobility aids (crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, etc.) to people with disabilities.
The project will support 830 families, including 200 people with disabilities, thanks to funding from ECHO.
Humanity & Inclusion in Cuba
Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Cuba since 1998, facilitating access to employment for people with disabilities, providing functional rehabilitation services, and supporting inclusion in disaster risk management. Learn more about our work in Cuba.
Photo caption: A destroyed building in Cuba following Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
More than 300,000 Cubans were affected by Hurricane Matthew, which hit southeast Cuba on October 4. The homes of more than 107,000 people were damaged, and more than 100 square miles of crops were destroyed in four areas in the province of Guantánamo. The hurricane destroyed between 90% and 94% of homes in Baracoa and Maisi, located in this province. Handicap International is planning to support the most vulnerable victims of the disaster.Read more
Present in Cuba since 1998, Handicap International works to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities and promote their inclusion in communities.Read more
Humanity & Inclusion in Cuba
Our team has worked in Cuba since 1998, initially supporting prosthesis and orthosis production and community-based rehabilitation (CBR). In time, our attention has shifted to support to civil society and inclusive education, along with emergency response to hurricanes.
Cuba is particularly prone to hurricanes, which cause regular and severe economic damage to the country and undermine living conditions, especially for people with disabilities who generally have fewer resources. Cuba is the largest Caribbean nation with 11 million people, and according to the latest estimates, 366,864 people in Cuba have disabilities.
During Obama’s presidency, people with disabilities were given free medical care. Now transportation and the lack of modern and/or specialized equipment limit their access to this care.
Our Current Work
In addition to addressing the needs that emerge from natural disaster events, Humanity & Inclusion employs 20 staff members in Cuba who work to:
- Improve community-based rehabilitation
- Promote socio-economic inclusion
- Encourage inclusive disaster risk management
- Respond to emergencies
In Cuba, more than 38% of people with disabilities have an intellectual disability due to several factors.
Humanity & Inclusion runs a community-based rehabilitation project working to implement a pilot project to provide people with intellectual disabilities with specialist care, to improve the prevention, care management, and understanding of intellectual disabilities within communities.
Humanity & Inclusion defines and strengthens a methodology for accessing employment for people with disabilities. This project also aims to promote the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities by carrying out three activities:
- Building the capacities of existing professional training structures
- Creating new occupational training links
- Improving access to existing and sustainable local employment opportunities
Humanity & Inclusion also works to support local disability rights organizations.
Inclusive Disaster Risk Management
Humanity & Inclusion works to strengthen the disaster risk reduction capacities of national prevention, mitigation and response organisms for continuous learning and collaboration, and conduct advocacy work with regional DRR bodies.
In emergencies, Humanity & Inclusion does the following:
- Assist persons with disabilities and senior citizens who have lost their assistive devices
- Trains construction brigades on accessibility
- Support partners in more accessible WASH
Our Past Work
Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Cuba for 22 years, fostering a culture of dignity, access, and inclusion for ALL people with disabilities and who are vulnerable. Over time, we have evolved our work to meet the dynamic needs of the communities where we serve.
Read on to learn more about our past work in Cuba, and consider investing in our future.
Disaster Risk Management
Humanity & Inclusion improved protection for vulnerable populations in the event of natural disasters in the cities of Santiago, Guantanamo, and Baracoa.
Our disaster risk management team in Cuba:
- Raised resident awareness of procedures to follow in the event of earthquakes
- Trained emergency response personnel
- Supported the authorities and technical institutions in managing earthquake risks