Favalora also said the United States should lift the embargo on Cuba for humanitarian reasons. Lifting the embargo would allow the church to more easily send "far more donations" to storm victims, he said.
South Florida congressional representatives also urged President Bush to halt the deportation of illegal Haitian immigrants until the island recovers from Ike's devastation. And a coalition of Cuban-American groups asked the Bush administration to temporarily lift the sanctions on family aid and remittances, as did Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
"The best thing is for people to get help from friends and family, " said Mayra Sanchez of North Miami, whose mother and daughter live in Las Tunas, Cuba, where storms have damaged many homes. "But Cubans can't do that because of the embargo."
Relief is also needed in the southernmost Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos, which Ike slammed into as a mighty Category 4 hurricane that peeled off roofs and knocked down buildings.
"It looks like Beirut, " Turks and Caicos Premier Michael Misick said at a Grand Turk airport with a collapsed hangar.
Some people cried and hugged Misick. At one home, women called out: "No food! No food!"
On the Bahamas' Great Inagua Island, a man snacked on coconuts in the streets of Matthew Town. He said Ike had rendered him homeless but joked about the fallen trees all over the island.
"It's easy to eat coconuts, " said Vincent Cartwright, 66, as he snacked on fruit he plucked from a downed tree.
Then, Cartwright said: "We got it bad here -- we're all mashed up."
The U.S. Coast Guard's Great Inagua station sustained minor damage, and crews there said they would assist with relief efforts soon.
Government workers and Red Cross volunteers flew into the island to survey damage and begin to distribute relief supplies like food, water and hygiene kits Monday afternoon.
The governments presence provoked irritation from some in Matthew Town.
"This is a total disaster, " Leopold Mullings, 47, yelled from his bicycle toward the government entourage. "We dont need assessments -- we need money!"
Miami Herald staff writers Oscar Corral and Casey Woods contributed to this report, which was supplemented with material from The Associated Press.