Northeastern Caribbean Hurricane Lenny Fact Sheet #1, FY 2000

Report
from US Agency for International Development
Published on 23 Nov 1999
Storm Track
  • The National Hurricane Center released its last public advisory concerning Tropical Storm Lenny at 4:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, November 21, 1999. At that time, the storm had been downgraded to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 30 MPH and higher gusts in a few squalls to the east of the depression's center. The center was located approximately 370 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands (18.3N x 56.1W).
Overview of Current Situation
  • Preliminary damage assessments indicate that the vast majority of the damage is to infrastructure, primarily to coastal roads and beaches. The humanitarian needs in the region do not appear to be overwhelming or life-threatening at this time. All affected islands now have electricity, water, and telecommunications, and all airports have been reopened. One of the main concerns of regional governments is damage to the tourism sector, including hotels, restaurants, beaches, and docks just before the start of the winter tourist season.
  • According to a November 19, 1999 report issued by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), the National Disaster Coordinators have summarized damages to specific countries as follows:
Antigua and Barbuda: population 64,246
  • Damages in Antigua and Barbuda are all water-related: beach erosion, massive flooding, and roads blocked by mudslides. Antigua received an estimated 31 inches of water by the time the rain ended; however, the water has already receded in many areas. One death is confirmed as a result of the storm. The most severe damage is recorded in the Parish of St. Mary, which has a population of 10,000. The Government of Antigua has declared disaster areas in locations affecting approximately 490 families. Although food has been sent to the southern parishes, it is uncertain at this time whether it will be sufficient to meet the needs. Assessments are continuing, but are being significantly hindered by inaccessibility to certain areas. According to the American Red Cross (ARC), electricity, telephones and the airport are functioning and schools will reopen on November 23.
St. Kitts and Nevis: population 42,838
  • The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the St. Kitts and Nevis National Society, and ARC conducted a joint assessment of the area. Findings from this assessment included 46 homes destroyed, 332 houses with damages ranging from mild to severe, and some damage to the main coastal road and bridges. The local government has not declared an emergency.
Dominica: population 64,881
  • Officials of the Commonwealth of Dominica have reported to the U.S. Embassy that many families located on the western coast of the island lost their homes as a result of the intense high waves. Many villages have been isolated from the rest of the island due to destroyed roads. The government has estimated reconstruction costs of US $1.5 million in road reconstruction, rehabilitation of road retaining walls at US $950,000, US $18.5 million in sea defenses and $800,000 in relief building materials and foodstuffs. The Government of Dominica also fears that many remaining roads are now extremely vulnerable to the ocean.
Grenada: population 97,008
  • To date, Grenada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has estimated damages to infrastructure at more than US $100 million, but the amount could rise after further assessment. In addition to washed out roads, businesses, homes, and sea walls, the most pressing problem is road access to the oil storage facility in Fontenoy. Several locations have been declared disaster areas, including St. Georges, which sustained substantial damage to its infrastructure.
St. Vincent and The Grenadines: population 120,519
  • St. Vincent and The Grenadines have suffered infrastructural damage along the western coast, with flooding and wind damage to banana stands and markets. Several schools also sustained roof damage and a gas station was destroyed in Layou.
St. Lucia: population 154,020
  • The most severe damage in St. Lucia was in the city of Soufrière. More information will become available once the USAID/OFDA team assesses this island.
USAID/OFDA Response
  • USAID/OFDA received a disaster declaration cable from the U.S. Embassy in Barbados on November 22 for Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia. The declaration noted that emergency supplies may be requested later as determined by the findings from the assessments currently being carried out by the USAID/OFDA team.
  • On November 19, a six-person USAID/OFDA team deployed to the region to conduct damage assessments and identify potential emergency needs. The team is composed of the USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor from Jamaica (Team Leader), a USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor from the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Office in Costa Rica, and four disaster specialists from Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue. The Team Leader is currently stationed in Barbados to communicate information to USAID/Washington and coordinate the team's activities with the multi-donor assessment group and the U.S. Embassy in Barbados. Three members of the team have been in Antigua since November 21 to assess damages and will fly to Grenada on November 23 to conduct an assessment there. The remaining two team members are flying to St. Kitts on November 22 and to Dominica on November 23 to assess damages. USAID/OFDA's LAC Regional Advisor will travel from Grenada to St. Lucia and St. Vincent later in the week to conduct additional assessments.
  • In addition, USAID/OFDA is providing $8,000 to fund four local engineers contracted through the U.S. Embassy to conduct assessments of damages to infrastructure. The governments and reconstruction agencies of the affected islands will use the results to determine reconstruction activities. Two of the engineers arrived in Grenada on November 22 to begin their assessments.
Other U.S. Assistance
  • At the request of the Government of the Netherlands (GON), the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) supplied a C-130 aircraft to transport relief commodities from Curacao to the islands of St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius. The GON has agreed to fully reimburse the DOD for the cost of the flight.
  • ARC has sent personnel to the field to assist with damage and humanitarian needs assessments and is coordinating with the USAID/OFDA team. Based on the findings, ARC is prepared to deliver pre-positioned relief supplies to the region.
International Response
  • In conjunction with CDERA, the Eastern Caribbean Donors Group deployed a Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT) on November 21, to aid in conducting individual country assessments. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is coordinating the team. Participants in the RNAT include technical specialists from the members of the Donor Group as well as CDERA, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and other organizations.
Local Response
  • Local governments and authorities throughout the affected islands have been actively coordinating with U.S. and international agencies and organizations to effectively assess emergency needs and report important information on damages. The Governments of Dominica and Grenada have supplied the U.S. Embassy with preliminary lists of reconstruction needs to rectify damage to infrastructure.
Public Donations Information
  • In the interest of effective coordination of public response, we encourage monetary donations to appropriate organizations. USAID encourages the public to contact directly those private voluntary organizations (PVOs) currently working in the region to provide monetary donations. A list of the PVOs may be obtained from the USAID website at www.info.usaid.gov. The list is composed of PVOs that are registered with USAID and/or listed by InterAction, a coalition of voluntary humanitarian and development organizations that work overseas; InterAction can be contacted at 1-202-667-8227 x106, or via the Internet at www.interaction.org. Those interested in providing specific technical relief services or commodities should contact Volunteers in Technical Assistance's (VITA) Disaster Information Center for information and guidelines at (703) 276-1914 or via the Internet at www.vita.org.
Background
  • A tropical system that formed in the Southwest Caribbean over the weekend of November 13-14, 1999 was upgraded to Hurricane Lenny on the afternoon of November 14. As a Category 4 hurricane, Lenny produced maximum sustained winds of almost 140 MPH and over 30 inches of rain in certain areas. After having minimal effect on Jamaica, Hurricane Lenny turned to the northeast, passed south of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and crossed over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, before stalling in the northeastern Caribbean for two days. Some of the most severe damage was sustained in the Leeward Islands of French St. Martin, Dutch St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Kitts and Nevis. The southern Windward Islands of Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica, and Guadeloupe also sustained damage to infrastructure from thunderstorms and high seas as a result of the hurricane. Lenny was downgraded to a tropical storm on the afternoon of November 19, and was further downgraded to a tropical depression over the weekend of November 20 and 21.