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United Nations Doubles Cuba Relief
With the assigned resources, we are cooperating with local authorities in food aid, shelter, agriculture reactivation, sanitation, environmental hygiene, safe drinking water and other recovery issues, UN Resident Coordinator in Cuba, Susan McDade, told Prensa Latina.

For recovery from hurricane Gustav in August, UN agencies in Cuba committed 1.2 million in regular funds, to which were added 2.487 million for a total of 3.687 million dollars by UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which then added another 4.88 million dollars to recover from hurricane Ike this month.

The Resident Coordinator leads the application for these resources.

After "hard lessons that showed we had to be more agile in mobilizing disaster relief funds," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs established the CERF two and a half years ago, McDade explained.

That standing support has to date provided .97 billion dollars to world countries.

McDade explains that the Cuban government did not request the funds, which are being distributed to different UN agencies here.

In fact, it is a UN system response to a natural catastrophe, she said.

"Before the world's upward disaster trend created a need for CERF, Cuba received UN funding through other mechanisms," said McDade, an 18 year veteran of the United Nations.

Although the bustling United Nations is immersed in providing relief to a country that was hit by the worst storms in decades, McDade says the UN is still committed to post-humanitarian matters, which will become development issues like food security.

"We're here for the long haul," she said.


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