The fierce hurricane Mathew hit Cuba on the 4th of October, 2016 and Pakistan has sent a ship with 15000 tons of rice to the hurricane hit country which docked at the Hai Pong pier on October 9. Showing solidarity with the hurricane-affected nation, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is trying its best to help the easternmost region of Cuba recover quickly from the devastation caused by the hurricane.
Hurricane Mathew, a Category 4 storm lashed the eastern municipalities of Cuba after causing mass destruction in Haiti. The storm is considered to be worst to hit the Caribbean regions in almost a decade. The Cuban government is striving for a speedy recovery and this gesture from Pakistani government is a very positive step which would help establish a stronger bond between the two countries in the future.
The handover ceremony was held after the ship CMB ADRIEN docked at the Havana port which was attended by Pakistani Ambassador to Cuba Kamran Shafi, Antonio Carricarte, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, several officers from Pakistani Embassy, people from different authorities and municipalities and the port staff.
Mr. Antonio thanked Pakistan for stepping forward to help Cuba in the hour of need, which, according to him, will not only help Cuban government to overcome the disaster but it will also open doors to friendly relations between the two countries in various sectors. He spoke about this aid, saying:
It is a noble gesture, unselfish… This donation comes at a time when, especially in the province of Guantanamo, the effects of Hurricane Matthew are being felt and of course, it would help to support the Cuban people, from the point of view of food.
Kamran Shafi asserted:
It is my great pleasure to present this gift of rice from our people and government. We very much hope that the quality of rice is of the highest possible standards.
Pakistan has returned Cuban government’s favor of helping Pakistan when it mattered, when the country suffered from one of the deadliest disasters: 2005 earthquake that hit mostly Kashmir and northern areas of Pakistan. The then government of Cuba headed by Fidel Castro, sent humanitarian teams consisting of 2400-2500 people, also setting up 30 medical facilities in different locations which helped mitigate the deadly effects of the earthquake.
Pakistan and Cuba have friendly relations in different sectors and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said last year about the ties between the two countries:
Pakistan and Cuba have enjoyed longstanding cooperation based on respect and understanding.
Pakistan’s sympathies are with the Cuban people and the government. Let’s hope that they overcome this difficult situation very soon.