As Hurricane Irma churns its destructive path over the Caribbean, Cuba's storm preparation measures are operating at full throttle.
Speaking about the tropical weather system carrying winds up to 185 mph, and having caused 10 casualties and widespread property damage in the northeastern Caribbean, Cuba's head of the National General Staff of Civil Defense Ramon Pardo stated that the storm's trajectory is “threatening.” He added that the risk factors include heavy “winds, rain and waves that cause flooding,” according to Sputnik News.
Addressing a publicly televised meeting coordinated between the National Defense Council, the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior, Pardo urged everybody to remain updated on information provided by the Institute of Meteorology and Civil Defense.
Public television also broadcast informational programs about hurricane preparedness, including how solar panels, irrigation machinery and construction materials are dismantled and warehoused in local schools.
The National Electrical Union televised warnings for people to turn off their electricity when Irma strikes to avoid being shocked by poles or wiring.
Cuba's hurricane and tropical storm protection measures, compared to the limited financial resources available on the island, is second to none.
Marguerite Jimenez, senior associate for Cuba at Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas, told teleSUR that Cuba's hurricane preparedness measures combine a comprehensive national and local emergency response plans, as well as education about disaster protection.
She emphasized that the Caribbean island's response strategy is designed so that “everyone survives and that their response protects people of all socioeconomic classes no matter where you live. It means that poor people are not disproportionately affected,” by dangerous storms.
Jimenez also noted that Cuba's rapid detection systems are coupled with “rapid mobilization through local community groups called the Communities for the Defense of the Revolution,” which have “existed in Cuba since the mid-60s.” This vital organ is very efficient at spreading information and responding to people's needs.