Hurricane Ivan & Tropical Storm Jeanne: What the UK is doing to help, Information note #2
After passing through the Caribbean, Hurricane Ivan came ashore the US Gulf coast on Thursday, 16 September as a category 4 hurricane. It took one week, from 7 to 14 September, for the hurricane to travel across the Caribbean, causing over 70 deaths and severe damage along its way. Hurricane Ivan caused devastation in Grenada and Grand Cayman, significant damage in Jamaica, and lesser damage in other island nations such as Trinidad and Tobago.
Hurricane Ivan hit Grenada the hardest. The death toll ranges from 28 to 37 with hundreds injured. 90% of the homes on the island were damaged, 30% severely and 10% beyond repair. Some 4-8,000 people remain in 200 shelters where they are receiving food and water. Many of the schools were destroyed causing the start of the school to be delayed until 2005. There has also been significant damage to some 50 to 70% of the police stations across the island. Communication remains a problem with most of the phone lines down.
Only 60 feet above sea level at its highest point, Grand Cayman suffered 180 miles per hour winds and 20-foot storm surges for over sixteen hours. The hurricane caused widespread devastation across the island, resulting in a complete breakdown of communications, power, and water as well as severe damage to individual properties and commercial buildings. Approximately 3,000 residents took refuge in eight government shelters. In the circumstances, it is extraordinary that only one person was killed.
Due to information and preparedness measures, the death toll in Jamaica was limited to 17 people. Approximately 5,000 homes will need rebuilding or extensive repair, cash and subsistence crops are extensively damaged, and there remains a serious problem with access to clean water and electricity. The number of people directly and significantly affected by the hurricane is thought to be around 25,000 people. This is primarily the result of loss of electrical power and interrupted water supply. Some 4,000 people are thought to be living in shelters.
DFID is the UK department working to promote sustainable development and eliminate world poverty. Our response so far:
- A two person DFID assessment team visited
Jamaica and Grand Cayman from 13-21 September 2004. The team made a full
assessment of the national and international response to the impact of
Hurricane Ivan on Jamaica and undertook a rapid needs assessment of the
impact of Ivan on the Cayman Islands.
- One of the first relief flights into
Grenada was a DFID Antonov 12 from Miami. It carried essential plastic
sheets and collapsible jerry cans for 4,000 households.
- On behalf of the Foreign Secretary,
Baroness Howells travelled to Grenada on 22 September to assess the situation
and convey condolences to the people. A DFID humanitarian adviser is accompanying
- A DFID-funded airlift carrying 5,000
tarpaulins arrived in Grand Cayman on 16 September.
- The airlift also carried telecommunications
equipment, including satellite equipment, which was made available for
the Hurricane Committee, the Cayman Islands Government and Governor's Office
to assist in the co-ordination of the relief operation.
- DFID sent 500 cots, water purification
tablets for 7,000 people for 1 month, and chain saws to help relief efforts
in the Caymans.
- 40 tonnes of bottled water was sent
to the Cayman Islands on 18 September.
- DFID has contributed =A3500,000 to the
regional appeal of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
- DFID has contributed =A383,000 to the
Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) for the deployment of emergency
personnel and emergency health kits.
- The European Union has contributed =A33.65m in emergency relief and post emergency rehabilitation for Grenada. This includes an earlier commitment of =A31.01m from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office towards the country's emergency needs and to assist St Vincent and the Grenadines. The UK share of this humanitarian assistance is about =A3710,000.
Tropical Storm Jeanne passed through Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday 15 September killing two people. It made landfall on the Dominican Republic as a category 1 hurricane and moved slowly northwest Thursday 16 and Friday 17, losing strength but causing extensive damage. Eleven deaths were reported on the Dominican Republic.
Tropical Storm Jeanne reached Haiti 17 September, with heavy rain falling over deforested hills in the north. Flooding started slowly on Saturday 18 September and then increased quickly to flash flooding causing fast run off into the valleys and towns. A total of around 700 are confirmed dead as of 22 September.
Currently the UN, Red Cross and NGOs are undertaking joint assessments across Haiti but access has been difficult due to heavy flooding. DFID will respond urgently to requests for assistance as the needs become clear. Already, ECHO has contributed =A31 million towards emergency relief in Haiti; the UK portion of this is approximately =A3200,000.
Useful information links
How the UK public can help
The following UK-based charities have appealed for support: British Red Cross (www.redcross.org.uk), Oxfam (www.oxfam.org.uk), Save the Children (www.savethechildren.org.uk), and the Adventist Relief and Development Agency (www.adra.org.uk).
For more information, see www.dfid.gov.uk.