Switzerland, UNDP and WFP join forces for the recovery of Cuba after Hurricane Irma

Dec 1, 2017

12 SMEs will increase the production of construction materials and will offer new jobs to the population of four Cuba provinces. Photo: UNDP Cuba / Mayrilian Acosta

Havana, 1 December 2017 -- Switzerland government is providing 1.9 million Swiss francs (1.93 million dollars) to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to support Cuban families affected by Hurricane Irma. The funds will be used for housing rehabilitation and emergency food assistance for the most vulnerable groups of the population reaching about 660 thousand people.

"In addition to these contributions to the UN Plan of Action, Switzerland has mobilized an additional 1.2 million of Swiss francs for ongoing cooperation programs. 100,000 Swiss francs have been delivered to Caritas Switzerland and another half a million to the International Federation of the Red Cross for recovery programs in Cuba. In total, Switzerland has mobilized an additional 3.6 million Swiss francs (3.66 million dollars) for post-Irma recovery projects. This is how the commitment and solidarity of the Swiss people towards Cuba is measured, "said the Ambassador of Switzerland, the Hon. Mr. Marcel Stutz, during the signing ceremony.

Hurricane Irma affected almost 2 million people and caused damages to nearly 160,000 homes. "We are especially grateful to the Government of Switzerland and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for this contribution that supports a resilient and long-term recovery, based on strengthening the capacities of the affected territories," said Consuelo Vidal, resident of Cuba and UNDP Representative.

Thanks to the Swiss contribution to Cuba’s recovery, WFP will purchase 400 MT of food (rice, beans and oil) for over 637,000 people from vulnerable groups (girls and boys under 5 years old, pregnant women, nursing mothers and adults over 65) and elementary students, who are currently being assisted in the provinces of Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Sancti Spíritus, Villa Clara and Matanzas.

“The Swiss contribution is very important and allows us to continue strengthening national efforts to offer a safe and stable food supply for vulnerable groups” noted the Representative of WFP, Mrs. Laura Melo.

UNDP will leverage Swiss contribution to strengthen the construction materials’ value chain by supporting the creation of 12 SMEs in four of the affected provinces: Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey. It is expected that these new companies will increase the production of construction materials and will offer new jobs to the population of these territories.

This project will incorporate the lessons learned and results achieved in interventions carried out after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 by UNDP and sister agencies of the United Nations System, which also support the Caribbean recovery.

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