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Cuba: Hurricanes and Tornadoes

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what financial and other support the Government has provided directly or via multilateral agencies to assist with reconstruction in Cuba following hurricanes Gustav and Ike; and whether further assistance is planned; (228441)

(2) what assessment he has made of the progress of reconstruction in Cuba following hurricanes Gustav and Ike; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £250,000 in direct humanitarian aid to Cuba through the International Red Cross for shelter material and water filters for some 40,000 people. In addition, the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) has announced a relief contribution of €2 million, of which 17.5 per cent. is funded by DFID. The United Nations Relief Agencies have mobilised $8.6 million for relief and rehabilitation works in Cuba, $1.6 million of which is funded by DFID through the UN. However, the UN remains in negotiation with the Cuban authorities on full access and co-operation in order to use that money. We also understand that the Cuban government have received offers totalling $30.5 million from a number of countries to assist with their reconstruction and emergency response efforts following the impact of the recent hurricanes.

Beyond humanitarian relief we do not provide direct reconstruction or long-term development aid to Cuba. We do not have direct access in Cuba either for making our own assessments of humanitarian or reconstruction needs and rely on assessments and programmes undertaken by international agencies such as the World Bank.