Urgent appeal for Cuban Hurricane relief

At the recent Executive meeting, a motion passed to donate $1000 from the CULE International Solidarity Fund towards hurricane relief in Cuba.

m/s/c Bob, Joan-Anne THAT CULE donate $1000 to the People of Cuba to assist in Hurricane Relief and make an appeal to CULE members to assist in the relief effort in any way they can, financial or material.

The people of Cuba need both our material and financial support and we urge you to help in any way possible.

On August 27, Hurricane Gustav began its five day barrage on the island of Cuba. Regarded as the most severe storm that has struck Cuba in the past 50 years, Gustav, a category 4 hurricane attacked the Island with furious winds that severely affected homes, agriculture, roofs and TV, telephone and communication and electricity towers.

It continued with furious winds and towering waves of 2-5 meters high, which penetrated inland from two to seven kilometers. The strongest winds felt in Havana were between 120- 130 Km/h; other locations on the Island of Youth and in Pinar del Rio registered wind gusts up to 350 Km/h.

Gustav’s winds destroyed everything in its path. The nature and force of the disaster severely damaged agriculture and farm lands, housing, transmission lines and communication towers.

Hurricane Ike moved through Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 165km/h and higher. It hit Cuba as a Category 4 hurricane, carrying strong winds and rain (dropping up to 200 mm in some places). It continued its way over Cuba this week, affecting the city of Havana and the Province of Pinar del Rio, already severely hit by Hurricane Gustav.

Food, infrastructure and tools have been severely damaged by the hurricanes.

Reports indicate that 700,000 tons of food has been totally or partially lost including:

  1. 80% of all banana plantations and in Holguin province and 90% in Las Tunas 10,000 hectares of yucca, 1,000 of sweet potatoes, 920 seedlings and 2010 of other crops

  2. 40 million eggs were lost and 430 laying hens died

  3. 1,455 cattle holding facilities are damaged and 526 animals died

  4. The tobacco harvest has been lost as warehouses where the tobacco was curing were severely damaged.

The total loss is the equivalent of 60 KG of food per Cuban – a severe blow that comes just as Cuba was engaging in a process with new measures in agriculture to increase food production and reduce food imports.

The need for funds to recover from these hurricanes is urgent. The people of Cuba need both our material and financial support. The CULE International Solidarity Committee urges all CULE members to contact their local Cuban friendship groups – visit http://canadiannetworkoncuba.ca/index.shtml, click on Provincial Groups – to see what assistance is needed.

The Canadian Network on Cuba alongside the charitable organization “Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund” is coordinating financial donations – there are two ways to do so:

1) Send your cheque made payable to the “Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund”, clearly stating “For Cuba Hurricane Relief” on the memo line, together with your name, address and telephone number. Envelopes should be addressed to: Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund, Att: S. Skup,Treasurer 56 Riverwood Terrace, Bolton, Ontario, L7E 1S4

2) You also can go to any TD Canada Trust branch and deposit money to the following bank account. All money received this way will go to Cuba Hurricane Relief. TD Canada Trust – 1881 Steeles Ave West at Dufferin, Toronto Institution # 004 Transit # 03212 Branch # 321 Acct# 5001074 Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund.

One hundred per cent of your donation will go to Cuba either directly or in shipping requested materials to help in the reconstruction and you will receive a charitable tax receipt.

In Solidarity,

The CULE Executive

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