Havana / Panama, September 10 – As Hurricane Irma leaves the Cuban territory behind, the government is hesitant to lift cyclonic alerts in many of the locations, as storm winds and torrential rains persist, making damage assessments that much more difficult.

“We are still waiting on reports on damages in the different provinces that where Irma impacted. There are many provinces without electricity and weather conditions are still unstable” – said Ines Brill, head of cluster for Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti at the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The Cuban Red Cross has deployed more than 7,000 volunteers throughout the country. “The volunteers are providing first aid, psychosocial support and helping families restore contacts with their relatives and people who they can’t locate after the hurricane.” – said Ines.

In the province of Ciego de Avila, Cuban Red Cross teams evacuated more than 1,000 seniors living in care centres. In Las Tunas, Red Cross teams focused their activities on relief and rescue as rivers overflow and flooding endangers the people in this province.

“The Cuban Red Cross, in its auxiliary role, works in coordination with the state agencies to provide support in the response and start activating recovery actions as soon as possible, ” – Ines added. There are 571 aid and response groups active on the ground now providing services throughout the country.

In Havana, preliminary reports indicate that the impact has been severe. There are still many flooded streets and buildings have shifted after strong waves from the sea hit them. More information on damages should be available in the coming hours.