The following article was written by Keith Ellis, the Canadian Cuban Friendship Association (CCFA) Cuba Relief Campaign Coordinator.
Out of the dark blue of the evening of January 27, a line of electric storms approaching Cuba from the south-west was announced by the metereological services. The general interpretation was that beginning late on Sunday evening intermittent thunderstorms would begin affecting eastern Havana, nothing severe enough to change one’s plans to visit friends in mid-Havana that evening.
What came to be identified as an unusual meteorological phenomenon, including a tornado with winds of more than 300 kph, tore through fragile parts of Havana beginning at about 8 p.m. The toll on housing, intensely in Regla and Guanabacoa, was severe. As the tornado made its way from the Casino Deportivo to east of Alamar, it passed through the centre of the city, with terrifying howling winds.
Demolished or damaged homes were the major grief it brought. This, together with crippling the electricity supplies, multiplied the ways in which people could die or suffer serious injuries in places that suddenly became unfamiliar. Havana suffered the high numbers of 6 fatalities and some two hundred injured people. 5,000 people have been evacuated from their badly damaged houses in four Havana municipalities.
Heavy construction brigades came immediately to clear up the trees and electrical poles and wires blocking the roads. Over the next few days Havana’s students promptly came to help; artists and writers carried water to where none was available, even after the electricity had been mostly restored. (See photographs in the online articles below.)
Hardly four weeks ago, the CCFA’s Amistad announced the end to the CNC’s formal campaign for funds to help in the recovery from Hurricane Irma. We thought that, with the end of the hurricane season, Cuba would be spared, at least for some months, the effects of new natural disasters; and here came this insolent storm on the eve of José Martí’s birthday, coinciding with the arrival of more than 1,000 people gathered from more than 60 countries to participate with serious studies in the central celebratory event.
The damage to Havana was on the minds of all of us. Martí had written the aphorism:
“It is noble to defend friendship, not forgetting,
in doing so, history and the idea of justice.”
So a necessary campaign for funds against this malicious storm and tornado has to be opened. We congratulate the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on its sending aid to Cuba ahead of us. Let us strive to catch up. Cheques should be written to “CNC” with the following words on the memo line: “Tornado Relief”. They should be mailed to:
c/o Sharon Skup
56 Riverwood Terrace
Bolton ON L7E 1S4
E-transfers can be sent to email@example.com, please include in the message “Tornado Relief” and we recommend order tramadol online by cod an easy password all lower case such as, for example, which country the donations are going to help.
This is an international fund raising campaign. US donors can also contribute to this fund raising effort. Please use the term “Tornado Relief” in your contribution to the Tornado Recovery Fund. Do not use the word “Cuba” because your donation could result in seizure by the US treasury department.
To view more photos of the tornado on the night of the storm.
Other photos can be found here of the morning after the tornado.
For those curious as to where the funds will go in Cuba and for purposes of transparency and clarity, the image below was issued by MINCEX Cuba (the government of Cuba. All funds will be deposited to:
Banco Financiero Internacional, account no: 0300000005093523. For donations from people in Cuba, the Banco Metropolitano account 0598770002953216 in Havana.