Although the worst of Hurricane Irma missed Cuba, the northern coast of the island still experienced tremendous damage and flooding from the storm. In the central and eastern provinces of Villa Clara, Sancti Espíritus, Camagüey, and Holguín many towns were flattened and tourist hotels along the coast experienced extensive damage. In Havana, at least 10 deaths were reported and there was widespread flooding along the coastline, downed trees and power outages. As the Cuban government begins the process of cleaning up and rebuilding, many people across the island are worried about supply shortages as resources are diverted to the most affected regions. Here’s how you can help:
1. Donate to an organization that is working on Hurricane Irma relief in the Caribbean. Most relief organizations don’t work directly with Cuba, but her are a couple of nonprofits that do (donations would be tax deductible):
The Yasiel Puig Wild Horse Children’s Foundation: This Cuban pro baseball player has a Hurricane Irma disaster relief campaign that sends funds through the Catholic Charities USA Disaster Operations.
Friends of Caritas Cubana: A Boston-based humanitarian 501(c)(3) taking donations earmarked especially for Irma relief.
2. Support crowdfunded campaigns by individuals bringing down supplies directly to Cuba over the next few weeks. Here are a few we’ve found that look promising:
Pablo Diengo: Cuban-American photographer living in NYC
Mariela Garriga: Cuban-American actress living in L.A.
Rocio Yepez of Fisheye Journeys
Brenda Figueroa and photographer Carlos Ernesto Escalona
3. Travel to Cuba! With things getting back to normal in Havana and across the island, the best way to show support the people is to walk the streets, stay in casas particulares, take taxis, and eat at paladares. If you have an Airbnb already booked, check with the hosts to see if they or their neighbors are in need of anything. Good items to bring include clothing, canned goods, toilet paper, and footwear.