Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Cuban model

Cuba is ready to send 1,500 doctors to the Gulf Coast, putting humanitarianism ahead of politics.

So far, the word from Washington has been thanks, but no thanks. The White House snubbed Cuba's offer and said Castro would do better "freeing" his Communist-run country.

One thing the White House can't say is that Castro ought to do better when it comes to Cuba's own hurricane victims. According to an Oxfam study from last year,

Cuba is a case study in successful disaster risk reduction. At the national level, Cuba's disaster legislation, public education on disasters, meteorological research, early warning system, effective communication system for emergencies, comprehensive emergency plan, and Civil Defense structure are important resources in avoiding disaster. At the local level, high levels of literacy, developed infrastructure in rural areas and access to reliable health care are crucial for national efforts in disaster mitigation, preparation and response.

Between 1996 and 2002, six major hurricanes have hit Cuba, including Michelle (2001), Ivan (2004), and Charley (2004), out of all of which only 16 people died. Seems like we could learn a few things.

No comments: