The United Nations’ World Food Programme was launching a $5.7 million operation in Cuba to help feed nearly 700,000 people in areas most affected by Hurricane Irma.
The monster storm ripped last weekend along the length of the northern coastline of the Caribbean’s largest island, tearing off roofs, wrecking the power grid and damaging crops. This hurricane just went down the entire coastline, the volume of impact is just unprecedented, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said during a visit to Havana, after meeting with Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
The WFP already had more than 1,600 tonnes of food pre-positioned around Cuba available to distribute and had funds to buy more. It would start by distributing for free rations of rice and beans in the most vulnerable areas.
Irma’s impact on food availability in the nation of 11 million inhabitants may be both short and medium-term. At the height of its strength, Irma ranked as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century and was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Cuba since 1932.