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Common Dreams

Cuba and Haiti Assess Damage in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Some still in camps from 2010 earthquake

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Common Dreams staff

Two girls shield themselves from the rain as a home is deconstructed to salvage it after several homes washed into the river in Grand Goave, Haiti, fon Wednesday. (Photo: Carl Juste / MCT / Miami Herald.)

Winds of 115 miles per hour decimated much of Cuba and Haiti last week, leaving the already poverty-stricken nations to salvage what they could from the rubble.

On Monday, McClatchy reported that 11 people were killed in Cuba, with 51 dead and 15 missing in Haiti, although those figures could rise. More than 200,000 were reported homeless in Haiti, with more than 17,000 in shelters.

Cuba's state-run media said 137,000 homes in Santiago were damaged, including 43,000 that lost their roofs and at least 15,000 that had collapsed.

Initial losses in that country were estimated at the equivalent of $2.1 billion (at the official rate Cuba uses for imports), but that figure was expected to rise when losses from tourism and other figures were added in.

Visiting the central provinces of Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus on Saturday, Cuban leader Raúl Castro said, “We can say that we have had a great hurricane in the east and a small ‘Flora’ (a destructive 1964 hurricane) in the center of the country," the state-run National Information Agency reported, according to McClatchy.

Much of the country remains without power, water or telephone service, and food is scarce, although Rev. Luis del Castillo, a retired Uruguayan bishop who now works in Cuba, told McClatchy it is beginning to arrive from relief agencies.

In Haiti, as many as 400,000 people made homeless by the 2010 earthquake remained in camps during the hurricane. Miriam Castaneda of the International Rescue Committee said disabled women and small children were evacuated to emergency shelters, but others had nowhere to go.

"Latrines that are poorly maintained have overflowed and garbage is everywhere," she reported Friday.

The International Organization for Migration said 16 cases of cholera have been reported in Haiti since the storm, and officials worry that number may increase.

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