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Cuban Hurricane Damage

Cuba was seriously damaged by two huge hurricanes in September 2008. Whole regions of the country were devastated and hundred of thousands of houses have been damaged or totally destroyed. In the middle of the destruction educational facilities struggle to serve their students. We have to make our universities stronger and better and to graduate more skillful professionals that can better serve their country.

In our institute we are assessing damages and discussing what to do. Our buildings did not suffer too much but some of our scientific equipment, already poor and outdated, will not survive this blow as they have been soaked in water and in our tropical climate corrosion will unavoidably render them useless. Parts of the ceiling were blown away in one of our buildings and air conditioner and acclimatization equipment was partially damaged.

We would like through the IUCr, to ask our colleagues in crystallography around the world to help us as much as they can. Any help in infrastructure, equipment or financial resources is welcomed. The goal is to rebuild our crystallography laboratory that is the only one in Cuba Universities. We strongly believe that even in crises a country must build for the future.

We will go on as planned with our crystallography school for July 2009. Every two years we organize an international school on crystallography where students from Cuba and Latin America hear state of the art lectures presented by invited experts in the field. This school has been an important part in the curricula in physics, material science, chemistry, engineering and life science. We ask professors who are willing to come to our school covering their cost and give lectures to please contact me so we can arrange the school program. We would like this year to emphasize protein crystallography, from single crystal to recent developments in powder methods.
I take the opportunity to thank you personally for the friendly support over the years.

Ernesto Estevez Rams, U. de la Habana