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Cablegate: Disaster Declaration for Cuba - Hurricane Paloma

VZCZCXYZ0010
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUB #0858 3152130
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 102130Z NOV 08
FM USINT HAVANA
TO RUEHWN/AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN IMMEDIATE 0005
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE IMMEDIATE 0024
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3864
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 0169

UNCLAS HAVANA 000858

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CCA, WHA/EX
ALSO FOR USAID/OFDA ROB THAYER
SAN JOSE FOR USAID/OFDA TIM CALLAGHAN
BRIDGETOWN FOR USAID/OFDA JULIE LEONARD
USMISSION GENEVA FOR NKYLOH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL CU
SUBJECT: DISASTER DECLARATION FOR CUBA - HURRICANE PALOMA

REF: A. HAVANA 744
B. HAVANA 722

1. (U) Hurricane Paloma struck central Cuba on November 8 as
a powerful Category 4 storm, the second most powerful
November Hurricane on record. Local and international press
report significant damage, especially to the town of Santa
Cruz del Sur. No casualties have been reported, but the GOC
announced that there were no/no deaths connected with Paloma.
USINT personnel have no means to assess the damage caused by
Paloma directly, but are presently contacting the UN and
other offices to get a clearer idea of the level of damage
caused by the storm.

2. (U) Hurricane Paloma declined rapidly after crossing on
to land, and is presently a weak low pressure system located
just to the east of Cuba. Though severe, the impact of the
storm appears to have been confined to a relatively narrow
part of Camaguey province. However, the additional damage
caused by Paloma coming so soon after the unprecedented
island-wide destruction caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike
(reftels) will complicate further the GOC's efforts to get
the country back on its feet.

3. (SBU) In light of this new damage, the Chief of Mission
requests an additional $100,000 allotment from USAID/OFDA to
be applied to emergency relief for Cuba. After several false
starts caused by GOC resistance to assistance of any kind
from the USG, with Washington's help we believe we have
identified several organizations through which funds can be
channeled to support storm relief.

4. (SBU) USINT expects that the GOC will once again employ
every means possible to ensure that no assistance from the
USG arrives on the island. It will continue to be important,
therefore, that all discussion of the specific means of
delivery of additional assistance be carried out in secure
channels.
FARRAR

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