Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cuba survives Hurricane Paloma

This weekend, Paloma became the third Category 3 Hurricane to strike Cuba this season. If, that is, you include November 9th as a part of the "season". The 190 kilometre per hour winds and 6 meter storm surge damaged thousands of buildings in Santa Cruz del Sur. Yet, like with Hurricane Gustav back in August, Paloma caused no fatalities and few injuries in Cuba.

The civil defense and evacuation efforts in Cuba are without parallel. According to the Cuban government, 1.2 million people were evacuated in less than 48 hours. Trains and government vehicles brought 18% of the evacuees to government shelters. The remainder of the people took shelter in the homes of family and friends inland, what the Cuban newspaper Granma calls "the habitual gesture of solidarity".

Certainly, Cuba's government is not a shining example for the world. The news of successful evacuations are infected with government hyperbole, as the above Reuters photo suggest. Nevertheless, there is no denying that Cubans are in some ways far better prepared for extreme weather events than any other nations in the Americas. I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Leaving politics aside, even the US should consider studying the Cuba's emergency management for any lessons that can be applied to management in democratic nations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems as though Oxfam America have been suggesting the same thing for some years Simon