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 improves the social integration of people with disabilities in Cuban society through rehabilitation and economical inclusion projects. The organization has worked in Cuba since 1998, when it launched its first prosthesis production project and employs eight staff members and one expatriate.
Cuba is the largest Caribbean nation with 11 million people. According to the latest estimates, 366,864 people in Cuba have disabilities. In 2015, presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced that diplomatic relations between the two countries had been restored, after a period of more than 50 years. People with disabilities are given free medical care, however, difficulties with transportation and the lack of modern and/or specialized equipment (such as audiometry tests) limit their access to this care. Cuba is particularly prone to hurricanes, which cause regular and serious economic damage to the country and undermine living conditions, especially for people with disabilities who generally have fewer resources than people without disabilities. Most recently, Hurricane Matthew, which hit the east of Cuba in October 2016, affected more than 300,000 people.
Community Based Rehabilitation
In Cuba, more than 38% of people with disabilities have an intellectual disability. This particularly high prevalence rate is due to several factors: a lack of information on the risk of children developing disabilities during pregnancy, a shortage of specialist medical equipment, poor guidance and preparation for families with disabled children, and the absence of a national integrated community-based rehabilitation model. The community-based rehabilitation project run by Humanity & Inclusion plans to implement a pilot project to provide people with intellectual disabilities living in this province with specialist care, to improve the prevention, care management, and understanding of intellectual disabilities within communities. This project has already benefited 375 people under the age of 30 with severe intellectual disabilities, and 817 rehabilitation professionals.
This project, helping people with disabilities in the province of Granma access jobs, aims to promote the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities who have benefited from functional rehabilitation. It is based on the implementation of individual inclusive employment projects, with the support of community advisers, and aims to build the capacities of existing professional training structures, create new occupational training links (tutors) and improve access to existing and sustainable local employment opportunities (micro-enterprises, cooperatives and public employees). Almost 2,400 people with disabilities have benefited from this project, including 600 beneficiaries who have received personalized employment plans, and 400 beneficiaries who were trained in 57 community workshops. Humanity & Inclusion also works to support local disability rights organizations.
HUMANITY & INCLUSION'S PREVIOUS WORK IN CUBA HAS INCLUDED:
Disaster risk management
In the cities of Santiago, Guantanamo and Baracoa, Humanity & Inclusion improved protection for vulnerable populations in the event of natural disasters, in particular for women and people with disabilities. The organization raised resident awareness of procedures to follow in the event of earthquakes, as well as trained emergency response personnel. It supported the authorities and technical institutions in managing earthquake risks.