Miami — Radio Martí was a crucial source of information in Eastern Cuba before, during and after Hurricane Sandy’s devastating passage, which left 11 dead on the island.
With extended news coverage, Radio Martí filled the void left by the official Cuban media and became the go-to station for real time coverage and accurate information in the hardest hit areas of Cuba.
The Martí’s continuous coverage from the island began before the storm and continued as humanitarian aid began to trickle in. According to independent journalists and locals, there is still no electricity or water in certain regions.
Said one caller from Santiago: “The station has been the only source of information on Hurricane Sandy even before the storm’s arrival. Meteorologist Lazaro Dominguez was accurate in his forecast. We prepared following his instructions since we received no warning from the Cuban Government.”
Another caller, Oriol Verdecia from Banez in the province of Holguin, said the storm disrupted island-based communication, but Radio Martí’s signal remained clear. “The Martí’s have been instrumental in keeping us informed and the government knows it. There are trucks driving around town announcing over speaker systems not to listen to the foreign stations or believe what they say,” he said.
Dissident Jorge Corrales, who was hospitalized at the Provincial Hospital in Guantanamo, told “Cuba Al Dia” on Radio Martí that sanitary conditions at the hospital are poor and that the number of patients with dengue fever and cholera is up.
Well known bloggers Yoani Sanchez and her husband, Reinaldo Escobar, turned to Radio Martí to spread the word on the devastation. On the air Yoani stressed the need for donations and provided a list of stores that accept online purchases to facilitate help from abroad. The Bishop of the Diocese of Holguín, Emilio Aranguren, took Radio Martí through a tour of the towns hardest hit by Sandy and described the damage.