The Caribbean: Earthquake - Information Bulletin n° 1

This bulletin is being issued for information only. An earthquake measuring 7.4 has occurred near the island of Martinique in the eastern Caribbean. The earthquake struck at 15:00 (19:00 GMT) off the north-west coast of Martinique at a depth of 145.4 kilometres (90.4 miles). No casualties have been reported and no tsunami warning has been given.

The National Societies of the affected countries, with the support of the International Federation, have determined that external assistance is not required, and are therefore not seeking funding or other assistance from donors at this time.

The Situation

On Thursday, 29 November at 15:00 hrs (13:00 hrs local Caribbean time) an earthquake of magnitude 7.4 (National Earthquake Information Center http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/neic/) occurred near the island of Martinique - Windward Islands in the Caribbean. The epicentre was located at 14.921°N, 61.264°W. (21 km east of Martinique) at a depth of 145.4 km (90.4 miles). Tremors of varying time lengths and magnitude were felt in other Caribbean islands - Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Mobile phone services have been interrupted in many cases, and the tremor was felt hundreds of miles away in Guyana, on continental South America. However, as the depth of the event is considerable, the impact on the surface has been moderate.

In Martinique there have been reports of rocks fallen on roads and panic in supermarkets as products fell from shelves. The Prefecture scheduled a meeting to revise and evaluate the damages.

In St. Lucia there was some damage to the water lines, though no major damages reported. Some damages in the water lines.

There was temporary disruption of cell phone service in Dominica, but there have been no reports of injury or damage to buildings.

One injury was reported in Barbados when a person stumbled down the stairs during evacuation of a building. One house destroyed in Ellerton, St. George and some land-slides reported.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Federation's Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) established contact with National Societies of the Caribbean trough its Disaster Management delegate in the Port of Spain Regional Representation. PADRU is also in contact with the French Red Cross' PIRAC and Martinique Red Cross. The Unit, based in Panama is on alert and on stand-by for support and assistance if required. Communication with the United Nation's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) regional office in Panama was established, as well as with the East Caribbean Donor Group. All National Societies in the Caribbean are on alert and in contact with local Government and National Disaster Agencies. The High Frequency (HF) Radio Network is functioning and the National Societies are in contact via radio with the Telecom Unit in PADRU.

How we work

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

The International Federation's activities are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

- In Panama: Stephen McAndrew, Head of PADRU, e-mail: stephen.mcandrew@ifrc.org; phone +507 316 1001; Fax +507 316 1082

- In Trinidad: Thomas Doyle, Disaster Management Delegate, Port of Spain Regional Representation, email: thomas.doyle@ifrc.org , phone +1 868 798 9493, fax +1 868 627 9627

- In Panama: Maria Alcazar, Resource Mobilisation Coordinator, Americas Zone, Panama, email: maria.alcazar@ifrc.org; phone +507 317 1300; fax +507 317 1304

MAP - Caribbean: Earthquake (as of 29 Nov 2007) - Location Map