On 8-10 September 2017, Cuba was hit by category 5 hurricane Irma, with winds reaching 250 km per hour, heavy rains and coastal flooding. According to the Cuban Civil Defence, thirteen of Cuba’s fifteen provinces, home to a population of over 9 million people, were affected by the hurricane.
In addition to the destruction of buildings and infrastructure, the damages to agricultural production, processing, storage and distribution units have affected the food security of the population. According to preliminary assessments, 22 municipalities in the provinces of Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Matanzas, Sancti Spíritus and Villa Clara are the worst affected.
In order to ensure access to food, and as a continuation to the immediate response emergency operation 201207, this emergency operation will provide 100 days of general food assistance to 647,000 people focusing on vulnerable groups, including children under 5, school-aged children, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly. For the provision of its basic in-kind food basket, WFP will rely on national social protection programmes as well as support the overall multi-sectoral emergency response by the Government and partners.
This operation is in line with WFP’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021, particularly Strategic Goal 1 (Support countries to achieve zero hunger, Sustainable Development Goal 2), and Strategic Objective 1 to “End hunger by protecting access to food”. In the Cuban context, this Strategic Objective emphasizes WFP’s role in supporting government social protection programmes in improving access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food in emergencies.