Late Sunday, January 27, a tornado struck Havana, Cuba, causing considerable damage. More than 170 people were injured and at least three people died as a result of the rare phenomenon. The Vedado neighborhood, where IFSA students live and study, is not damaged; the area approximately one mile east and southeast of Vedado suffered the brunt of the tornado’s impact and experienced the most damage. All of the IFSA host families, program facilities, and staff are accounted for and doing fine. The Universidad de la Habana program will begin as scheduled on January 30, 2019.
What IFSA is Doing
The IFSA Health & Safety team notified all students scheduled to depart for the Cuba program, reassuring them that this weather event is unusual for Cuba and that IFSA has a carefully planned emergency response system in place. In the event of an emergency, IFSA’s Health and Safety team works with the resident director to ensure all students are accounted for, safe, and that they receive the proper support and care.
Additionally, our resident director guides students through safety practices and checks-in, providing any information and support needed. At the beginning of the program, students will spend significant time discussing how to safely live in Havana, as well as steps for what to do in an emergency. All students will receive an emergency phone number to contact our resident director and our emergency assistance provider 24/7 in the event of an emergency during the program.
IFSA adheres to the health, safety, security, and risk management guidelines and best practices in the field of international education as established by NAFSA and the Forum on Education Abroad. IFSA’s Health and Safety team consults regularly with governmental agencies, private sector and local resources, and safety and security professionals in the field of international education. This broad network allows us to remain well-informed and up to date on best practices.
If you would like more information, please see the following media outlets:
Global News: globalnews.ca/news/4896566/tornado-havana-cuba