Medical Aid for Santiago after Hurricane Sandy

Last week, two 40-foot containers of medical aid were pulled away from the Global Links dock and started on the journey to hospitals in Santiago, Cuba. The hospitals suffered considerable damage from Hurricane Sandy, and need medical supplies in order to care for their community. Global Links was in a position to help.

Global Links had recently received “pandemic kits” containing gloves, masks and other essential items, as well as flu vaccine kits, and barrels of soap. All these items were processed by Global Links, and the materials that Santiago hospitals needed were packed and loaded on the trucks, along with linens and other items.

After a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy, it is essential to donate only the materials that are needed and immediately usable. Sending unnecessary items clogs the “pipeline” and impedes the arrival of usable aid, eats up time and other resources to sort and allocate non-essential items, and can create a disposal problem if some materials are not usable at all.

Communication is key in any humanitarian endeavor, and Global Links, one of the few US charities licensed to work in Cuba, is collaborating with MEDICC and with the Pan American Health Organization  (PAHO) to ensure that all of our donations are appropriate and useful.

Please consider supporting recovery efforts in Santiago with a donation to Global Links. Two more shipments to Santiago are planned before the end of the year and we need your help to cover the shipping costs. Your support can make those shipments a reality.

Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city, was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.


First Two Medical Aid Shipments Headed to Santiago

Since late October, Global Links has been working with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)MEDICC and Cuban health officials to determine what assistance we could provide based on hurricane damage assessments. PAHO is the regional arm of the World Health Organization, and as such has representation in every country in this hemisphere.  Its sole purpose is to support public health, and disaster recovery efforts in Cuba are focused on rehabilitating the health sector.

Women repairing the street in Santiago.

Thanks to generous donors, Global Links will be loading the first two tractor-trailer shipments of medical aid destined for Santiago, Cuba, next week. We will be including hospital linens, anti-bacterial soap, basic medical, and infection control supplies.

PAHO reports that approximately 226,000 homes were damaged and at least 17,000 destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, which caused 11 deaths, affected three million people, and damaged 746 health facilities in the eastern region. The province of Santiago de Cuba is the most affected, with 369 damaged health facilities.

In Santiago de Cuba, 18 hospitals are damaged and are partially functioning. There is severe damage in the Psychiatric Hospital, which had to be evacuated; in the Pediatric Hospital, and Siboney Primary Health Center.

Help is still needed for Global Links’ next shipments of medical furnishings, equipment, and medical books to replace those damaged by the storm, along with additional essential supplies to enable the medical staff to provide care for their patients. The hospitals affected by the hurricane serve over one million people. Thank you for helping them to recover.

Crews work to rebuild the city.

Donate online, or make your check payable to: Global Links (simply note SANTIAGO in the Comments section)

Give by phone! Text GIVE 12012 to 80088 to donate $10 to Hurricane Sandy Relief for Santiago, Cuba. Message and data rates may apply. Only works for US mobile phones.

Hold a fundraising event to gather financial contributions from friends, members of your organization, co-workers and the general public. Contact us at: 412-361-3424 or by email if you would like a speaker in the Pittsburgh area or assistance in promoting your event.

Rebuilding Haiti’s Healthcare System

Recently, our program officer for the Caribbean Region, Marisol Valentin, gave a presentation about current conditions in Haiti and how Global Links is collaborating with other organizations, in other countries, to address the many issues arising from the earthquake and subsequent outbreak of cholera. While the situation is still grim, this is a story with some heroes and a hopeful ending. 

“We are of the generation that believes that things can be different and change is possible,” says one of those heroes. Take a look at our latest Field Report, which captures the essence of Marisol’s presentation.