Can We Learn From Cuba?
Now at a time when we are all trying to figure out what went wrong and how we should have acted better, why is this the first and only story I have read about Cuba's exemplery model of Hurricane preparation in the US press? I wonder. It might be the same reason we're not accepting the offer of 1,566 Doctors. Instead, our governement sees fit to 1) first ignore the offer by not publicly acknowledging it until the press started asking questions at State, 2) try to mealy-mouth their way around the issue by not accepting it nor denying it, 3) use the offer as an excuse to take swipes at the man who made the generous offer. Too bad our so-called liberal LA Times editorial page chief sees fit to do the same, by comparing Castro to Osama Bin Laden in their supposed shared "glee" over the disaster. Never mind the nationall televised moment of silence Castro led while Bush was still nowhere to be seen. Disgusting.
The tiny country is known for its hurricane planning that keeps its people prepared and fatalities low.
September 9, 2005
By SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN
Before Hurricane Ivan whipped Cuba last year with 160 mph winds, the government evacuated nearly 2-million people. The result: not a single death or serious injury.
Although it is a small, poor country in the heart of hurricane alley, Cuba is widely acknowledged to do an exemplary job of protecting its 11.3-million residents from natural disasters. Its record is even more impressive in light of the catastrophic loss of life that the United States - the world's richest and most technologically advanced nation - is experiencing from Hurricane Katrina.
"Cuba has not only an evacuation plan but an overall plan for hurricanes and other disasters that is very well developed and organized," says Dusan Zupka of the United Nations' International Secretariat for Disaster Reduction.
"I would dare to say that Cuba is a good example for other countries in terms of preparedness and prevention."
Cuba's form of government - communist and authoritarian - undoubtedly helps it to quickly mobilize in emergencies. But the real key to success is a "culture of safety" in which people at all levels of government and society are committed to reducing risks and saving lives, according to a study by Oxfam, a charity that works in ravaged areas worldwide."