Hurricane Irma Has Only Made Cuba Stronger: Foreign Minister

In the wake of Hurricane Irma’s destructive landfall, Cuba said it will not abandon its people and together the nation will rebuild, coming back a stronger and more resilient society because of its struggles.

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“The fruits of years of intense work by our people were erased by Irma in just a few hours. But the hurricane did not break Cubans’ spirit of resistance,” Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in New York Tuesday, quoting President Raul Castro, saying Cubans are a people who “are reborn with every adversity.”

Rodriguez said Irma’s 185 mph winds caused severe damage to housing, agriculture, and the electro-energetic system.

“The hurricane hit Cuba for more than 72 hours, in particular, it lashed out at almost all of the north of the country. Virtually no territory of the archipelago was exempt from its effects. Despite the huge prevention measures taken, we suffered the loss of 10 lives,” Rodriguez said of the Category 5 hurricane which tore through the Caribbean earlier this month.

The minister delivered his condolences to the countries and territories hit by the storm and promised that Cuba would continue to offer its “modest” support, recalling the presence of its health workers who are assisting its sister nations.

“I mention this only to argue for a call to give priority in the international mobilization of aid to those states and territories which, because of their small size, small population and limited capacity to generate their own resources, will face the greatest challenges in the recovery after the passage of Hurricane Irma,” Rodriguez said.

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The Cuban diplomat touched on the importance of confronting the reality of climate change and the shared responsibility of nations around the world, with special treatment of the smaller island states who suffered the most from the recent storms.

Cuba has so far received supplies and monetary support from Vietnam, Venezuela, Suriname, Bolivia, Panama and Russia the county’s secretary of communication reported.

Despite the internal devastation, Cuba has dispatched 771 physicians to several Caribbean islands in the wake of Irma’s destruction. Dr. Regla Angulo Pardo, director of Cuba’s Central Unit of Medical Cooperation, said, “Measures have been taken to preserve the lives of our 771 employees, and logistic assurances have been implemented.”

Described by meteorologists as one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the Caribbean in a century, Hurricane Irma, to date, has caused at least 28 casualties and left a path of widespread destruction on several northeastern Caribbean Islands, especially Barbuda.

teleSUR