BEGINNING TO REBUILD IN PUNTA ALEGRE, CUBA

Week of Compassion--in conjunction with Disciples Home Missions, and Global Ministries-- is working with the Iglesia Cristiana (Discipulos de Cristo) to support recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Registration is open for teams of volunteers/ambassadors to assist with rebuilding homes and to build relationships with our Puerto Rican Disciples. For more information, see www.discipleshomemissions.org/pr-response]

As multiple severe wildfires rage across California, Week of Compassion is in regular contact with pastors and partners in the area to provide relief. We will continue to monitor the fires and will continue to support affected communities as they move into long-term recovery in the months ahead.

 

   Julio's and Belkis' destroyed home in Punta Alegre.  Credit: Cuban Council of Churches

Julio's and Belkis' destroyed home in Punta Alegre.  Credit: Cuban Council of Churches

The picturesque fishing village of Punta Alegre, Cuba, lies on the north coast of Cuba, 230 miles east of  Havana. On September 15, 2017, Hurricane Irma utterly devastated the town with sustained winds of 149 mph. Local journalist, Miriam Celaya, wrote: "After the catastrophe, when the inhabitants of Punta Alegre began to come out of the few remaining homes or shelters in which they had taken refuge temporarily, they encountered a panorama of utter devastation. A pile of debris, sea corals, chunks of roofs, scraps of furniture, tree branches, and mud stretched over what once was a quiet coastal town. Some fishing boats had been swept by the sea into the village and floated between houses."[1]

The need after such devastation - which also severed communication and transportation links with the Cuban government - was (and continues to be) enormous. Working with Global Ministries and through our partners, ACT Alliance and the Cuban Council of Churches, Week of Compassion has been making available food kits, household items, newborn care items, basic hygiene items and equipment for access to safe water. The story of two Punta Alegre residents is mirrored by scores of others: In the very centre of Punta Alegre, the home of husband and wife Julio and Belkis was almost completely destroyed by the hurricane. Only the walls of their recently remodeled kitchen remained intact, as well as those of the dining room, which they had to re-roof and now use as a bedroom. Although they are close to retirement age, they both work.

Their income barely covers debts owed for previous purchases of construction material, so Julio and Belkis have no idea of how they will obtain the necessary material for the difficult task of rebuilding their home. With support from Week of Compassion partners, Punta Alegre residents are able to purchase building materials and re-start businesses to restore income for both daily necessities and re-building.

Full recovery from this devastation will take many years, and Week of Compassion and its partners continue to assist the residents of Punta Alegre with the everyday necessities of life that are so often taken for granted until disaster sweeps them away. Thanks to your gifts to Week of Compassion, the residents of this village know that they have neighbors who care and who will continue to care.

[1] Miriam Celaya , "The Hurricane Has Delivered Punta Alegre the Coup de Grace." Â https://translatingcuba.com/the-hurricane-has-delivered-punta-alegre-the-coup-de-grace/

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