AMERICA/CUBA - "Hurricane Sandy hits Cuba: houses and churches destroyed, lack of food, electricity and telephone line, but nobody talks about it": dramatic testimony from Santiago de Cuba

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Santiago de Cuba (Agenzia Fides) - For several days the media have been documenting the devastating force of Hurricane Sandy in its passage in New York and other U.S. cities. Little or nothing is said instead of the damage the hurricane has caused in Santiago de Cuba (Cuba) and Haiti (see Fides 29/10/2012), countries that do not have certain infrastructure and financial resources to assist the displaced and to begin reconstruction. His Exc. Mgr. Luis del Castillo Estrada, SJ, Bishop Emeritus of Melo, who has been a missionary in Santiago de Cuba (Cuba) for two years, sent to the Episcopal Conference of Uruguay and Fides some photos showing the terrible situation in which this city is, along with a request for help to respond to the most urgent problems of the people and for the reconstruction of churches completely destroyed.
This is the description given by Mgr. Del Castillo: "Santiago is completely destroyed. All the roof tiles were blown away. Churches are destroyed. Uprooted trees fell on houses or in the streets. There is no electricity or telephone connection. There is not sufficient water so therefore one cannot cook. There is no food and there are no refrigerators to preserve what little there is. Volunteers have arrived from other provinces to restore what they can do. The mood of the people is amazing, the most heard sentence is 'we are alive!'.
I am writing from the Melia Hotel, the only place in town with internet. We are contacting all former students of the Jesuit College Dolores to know the most urgent needs. We organize emergency aid for food and medicine. Later we will deal with ceilings and walls. I am sending photos to see what is left of the parish roof of Vista Alegre. What is left of the nearby church, 'Sueño' is one wall with a crucifix. Other parishes in San Vicente, which are made of wood, are all over the ground. From the roof of the parish 'El Cristo' all the tiles have flown. Even the parish 'El Caney' has no roof. Now is the time for solidarity and reconstruction. In our house we have welcomed two families whose homes were completely destroyed. Neighbors help remove debris and try to recover what they can." (CE) (Agenzia Fides 06/11/2012)