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THE National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Thursday said it has learned of the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma and has conveyed its "deepest condolences" to all Cuban people.

The first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Cuba's history has left a trail of devastation. Some streets in the capital, Havana, were flooded by neck-high water. There are reports of considerable damage to infrastructure, homes, and loss of lives. 

"Our thoughts are with the government of the Republic of Cuba, Cubans, and families affected by the hurricane. We convey our deepest condolences to all Cuban people," Nehawu said.

"Nehawu takes this opportunity to wish all Cuban authorities and the population in general well as they are focusing on recovery efforts to restore basic services to the population and repair the material damages. 

"In the context of this disaster, we denounce the cruel US economic blockade against Cuba, which is a natural affront to the restoration of infrastructure, safety for the people and after all peace and social progress."

Nehawu said it has confidence in rescue efforts coordinated by the government of Cuba and that it will prioritise the saving of lives. 

"Our union, Nehawu, will participate in the international emergency campaign aimed at assisting Cuba with direct material aid," said Nehawu General Secretary, Zola Saphetha.

"'Once again, on behalf of its entire membership, the union remains confident to its relationship with sister unions and the working class as a whole in Cuba and also convinced that they will emerge victorious from effects of this hurricane."

African News Agency (ANA)