Caribbean/Belize - Tropical Storm Iris OCHA Situation Report No. 4

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 09 Oct 2001


Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2001/0204
OCHA Situation Report No. 4
Tropical Storm Iris - The Caribbean
Belize
9 October 2001

This message is not an official hurricane warning or alert for any country.


Source: www.lonelyplanet.com


1. The National Weather Center in Miami reports that Hurricane Iris made landfall near the town of Monkey River in Belize at approximately 0200 GMT, 9 October 2001. At 0900 GMT, the center of Hurricane Iris was located near the border of Guatemala and Mexico near latitude 16.0 north, longitude 90.8 west or about 100 miles (160 km) north of Guatemala City. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/hr) with higher gusts (Hurricane Iris is now downgraded to Tropical Storm).

2. Iris is moving toward the west near 21 mph or 33 km/hr.

3. At 0900 GTM, the Governments of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras discontinued all coastal warning for their countries.

4. Rainfall totals of 5 to 8 inches are likely along the path of Iris. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides over mountainous terrain.

Belize

5. Belize City is not affected and the airport is expected to remain open. (Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.)

National Response

6. The United Nations Resident Coordinator’s office in Belize reports that the Prime Minister declared the state of national emergency on 8 October. He also ordered the evacuation of coastal population centers on the Caribbean coast of the districts of Belize, Stann Creek and Toledo. Tens of thousands of people moved from Belize City, Dangriga and coastal villages to Belmopan and other higher central areas. Hurricane shelters were opened nationwide at noon local time yesterday. Patients in coastal hospital including the main hospital in Belize City were evacuated.

7. Preliminary reports indicate extensive damage to houses along the southern coast (for example in Placencia). There are also reports on damage to networks of telecommunications and electricity supply.

8. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) activated all committees, including the Foreign Assistance Committee. The Ministry of Health distributed rapid needs assessment forms.

9. The Belize Red Cross Societies mobilized volunteers to work in the management of shelters and to assist in evacuation operations.

International Response

10. The United Nations Disaster Management Team (UNDMT), consisting of PAHO/WHO, UNICEF and UNDP, met yesterday and began preparations for humanitarian response. OCHA has put a United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) team on stand-by.

11. PAHO/WHO moved to Belmopan from Belize City and is in close contact with the Ministry of Health. Two PAHO/WHO Disaster Response Specialists are arriving in Belize on 9 October with US/OFDA team.

12. So far, the Government of Belize has not requested international assistance.

13. For further information, please refer to the Website of the National Hurricane Service in Miami at www.nhc.noaa.gov, and www.solar.ifa.hawaii.edu/Tropical/Gif/atl.latest.gif

14. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int

CONTACTS

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

Desk Officers:
OCHA Response Coordination Branch:
Mr. E. Haegglund / Ms. M. Kondo
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 32 99 / 1997

Press Contact:
Ms. E. Byrs, Direct Tel. +41-22-917 2653 (Geneva)
Ms. Phyllis Lee, Tel:+1-212- 963 4832 (New York)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.