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  • Debris washes up on a beach in Cap-Haitien, Haiti as Hurricane Irma approaches.

    Debris washes up on a beach in Cap-Haitien, Haiti as Hurricane Irma approaches. | Photo: AFP

Responding to the most powerful hurricane to hit the Caribbean in decades, Cuban medical brigades have taken action to assist in recovery efforts.

More than 750 Cuban physicians have been dispatched to several Caribbean islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma's destruction. 

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They will maintain daily communication with Havana in order to stay informed about unfolding events, said Dr. Regla Angulo Pardo, director of Cuba’s Central Unit of Medical Cooperation.

Facing the most power hurricane to hover across the Caribbean in decades, “measures have been taken to preserve the lives of our 771 employees, and logistic assurances have been implemented,” the official said.

She noted that Cuba has sent medical brigades to six of the countries in the subregion that, in recent days, have been or will be in the the tropical storm's orbit. Those islands include Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Bahamas, Dominica and Haiti.

In Haiti, heavy rains forced nine of 23 total collaborators to evacuate their locations. However, the remaining medical staff are assisting local health authorities and serving residents.

Guidelines provided by Cuba's Ministry of Public Health, MINSAP, and corresponding embassies located on each island have kept members of the medical brigade safe and sound. The preparation has enabled staff to participate in subsequent recovery efforts.

"Collaboration with the Central Medical Cooperation Unit, together with the MINSAP Management Center and our embassies, have maintained communication to assess the damage and gauge what help our own collaborators can provide," Pardo added.

She emphasized that in Antigua and Barbuda, particularly in the latter island due to the hurricane's destruction of most of the infrastructure as well as 95 percent of homes, Cuba's 43 physicians weathered the storm unscathed and have joined recovery efforts.

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