Hurricane relief for Cuba – CCFA and others

Help for Cuba – Hurricane Sandy Relief campaign

November 1, 2012

The Canadian Network on Cuba launches its “Sandy Relief Fund” Campaign

At 1:25 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25th, Hurricane Sandy entered Cuba just west of Santiago de Cuba as a category 2 hurricane. However the extent and speed of Sandy gave sea surges a destructive capability as great as any of the category 5 hurricanes. Its central path took it rapidly through the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Holguín and Guantánamo, the former two provinces are the most populous in Cuba after the City of Havana.

The hurricane devastated the heroic city of Santiago de Cuba, destroying houses, damaging public buildings and monuments, leaving the city without water supply, electricity, shops, markets and trees. Despite massive evacuations, it took a toll of some 11 human lives, an unusually high number in Cuba for hurricanes (mainly by collapsing buildings) — 132,733 houses were affected with 15,322 totally destroyed and 43,426 losing roofs.

Massive damage, not yet fully calculated, was caused in Guantánamo and Holguín before the hurricane left this province near Banes, precisely where hurricane Ike had entered four years earlier. Cuban provinces as far east as Villa Clara and Cienfuegos have suffered from high winds and flooding due to the heavy rainfall.

President Raúl Castro, visiting Santiago de Cuba on Sunday, Oct. 28, said that only urgent temporary measures can be taken and that the recovery of Santiago would take years.

The emergency measures are well underway. Roads to healthcare centres and other essential services were speedily cleared. Linemen have been arriving from seven provinces to work together with local ones to restore electricity and telephone services. Roofing materials are arriving from neighbouring provinces such as Las Tunas. Temporary systems have been set up to provide 85% of the affected population with drinking water, and food supplies have been arriving from throughout Cuba to Santiago and other severely affected parts of eastern Cuba. Cultural activity has not been overlooked, with some cultural centres being promptly and reopened, with artists from different parts of the country to join local artists in lifting peoples’ spirits.

Good friends of Cuba have also been prompt to supply assistance. Venezuela, for example, has given 650 tons of help including non-perishable food, drinking water and heavy machinery to Cuba, with some going to Haiti.

However, the need remains great. Cuba continues to give its help to Haiti, which, although not directly hit by Sandy, suffered much destruction from flooding, with scores of lives lost.

Canadians have responded generously in the past to disasters affecting Cuba and other Caribbean countries suffering from natural disasters. With great gratitude we recall that from coast to coast they responded to requests from the Canadian Network on Cuba, the umbrella group representing friendship organizations with Cuba. We forwarded to Cuba after 2008, when the country was ravaged by three hurricanes, more than $404,000.00  CAD.

When on January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered the horrific earthquake, the CNC, recognizing that the most effective way of helping Haiti was by doing so through Cuba, mounted its TO CUBA FOR HAITI Campaign, which so far has collected and sent to the Cuban Medical Brigade in Haiti $453,728.12 cad.

Cuba needs substantial help, both immediate and long term, in order to overcome the crisis brought on by hurricane Sandy. Cuba’s Ministry of External Commerce (MINCEX) is establishing an account to receive the financial contributions – also a list of needed supplies. As in all our previous fundraising efforts, every single penny donated will go to Cuba. Charitable tax receipts will be provided.

Our experience with regard to Cuba’s response to natural disasters is that it knows how to multiply the value of any donations it receives. We feel confident, based on the island’s unsurpassed humanitarian work both within Cuba and in other countries, that it has the skills, the organization and the ethical and moral values to put whatever aid it receives to the best possible use.

The CNC urges everyone who can afford to do so to support this effort by giving a donation:

There are two ways to donate and receive a charitable tax receipt.

1.  payable to ‘CCFA Toronto’

and please also write “CNC Sandy Relief Fund” on your cheque’s memo line.

CCFA Toronto PO Box 99051-1245 Dupont St Toronto ON M6H 2A0.

The CCFA Toronto is working with the charitable org. Updated info on Sandy will be put on


2.  payable to the ‘Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund’

and mail to the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund, Att: Sharon Skup 56 Riverwood Terrace Bolton, ON L7E 1S4

Please also write “CNC Sandy Relief Fund” on your cheque’s memo line.

The efficiency, kindness and wisdom of Sharon Skup add greatly to the sense of security and satisfaction that everyone can feel in the administration of this campaign.

Charitable receipts will be issued by the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund in 4-8weeks (Charitable Org – Revenue Canada Reg, #88876 9197R0001). There will be no administrative charges, not even for postage stamps.

  • Keith Ellis, Coordinator, CNC Sandy Relief Fund (905 822 1972;
  • Isaac Saney, CNC Co-Chair and National Spokesperson
  • Elizabeth Hill, CNC Co-Chair and Treasurer
  • Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto
  • (CCFA Toronto)
  • POBox 99051 – 1245 Dupont St
  • Toronto ON M6H 2A0
  • Tel: (416) 410-8254 Fax: (905) 951-7629
  • email:
  • or email:
  • website:

There is another small Ontario based group trying to help,   it appears they don’t have charitable organization status but still need money to help with a reconstruction trip they are planning:

This December, 3 members of Heart For Cuba will be travelling to two small villages in Cuba: Fray Benito and San Andres to rebuild two homes that were destroyed in the recent hurricane. In order to do this we need to raise between $2000 – $4000. If you can help in any way financially, please contact us. Another way to help would be to help share this news with friends. If you have any ideas for fundraising events, we would love to hear from you as well.

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