Caritas Aiding Cuban Victims of Hurricane Charley

HAVANA, AUG. 17, 2004 ( Caritas-Cuba, together with other Catholic institutions that make up Caritas Internationalis, is assisting the victims of Hurricane Charley in Cuba.

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Among the most affected areas are the Isle of Youth, off Cuba’s southwest coast, the province of Pinar del Rio, and the capital city of Havana and its environs.

Hurricane Charley downed trees and power lines and left an estimated 20,000 homes damaged or destroyed in Pinar del Rio and Havana.

More than 500 schools and nearly two dozen health centers were also damaged by wind gusts that reached up to 102 miles per hour, the U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS) reported.

«Life is slowly returning to normal, but there are immediate and long-term needs that we’ll be working to meet,» said Jed Hoffman, Latin America regional director for CRS. «Many of those homes destroyed were particularly vulnerable to storm damage to begin with.»

Immediate humanitarian needs include clean water, blankets, mattresses and medicines. Like the relief assistance, the follow-up phase of reconstruction assistance will be channeled through Caritas-Cuba to local diocesan offices.

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community.

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