New Caledonia - Tropical cyclone OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 17 Mar 2003
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2003/0040

OCHA Situation Report No. 1
New Caledonia - Tropical cyclone
occurred on 13 March 2003

I. SITUATION

1. A tropical cyclone named Erica affected the South Pacific island of New Caledonia on 13 March 2003 with winds up to 200 kilometres an hour. It peaked as a category 5 cyclone on 12 March 2003 and rapidly weakened to a category 1 storm by 14 March.

2. According to the media two people died and close to 100 people have been injured. An estimated 1,000 people are homeless.

3. Erica caused huge damage along the main island's west coast and the capital, Noumea. It made landfall at Kone, roofs were torn off, trees were uprooted, power and phone lines were cut, and roads were closed. It is also feared that many root crops have been destroyed in the northern province. Nevertheless, the water system is reported to be intact.

II. NATIONAL RESPONSE

4. A massive clean-up operation is underway to restore power and communications. People are busy removing fallen trees, metal roofs and other debris.

5. The French government has released USD 300,000 in immediate emergency assistance. The minister in charge of Overseas Territories is due in Noumea today to assess damage first hand and to help organise relief.

III. INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE

6. So far OCHA has not received any request for international assistance.

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

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

Desk Officers:
Mr.R.Muller/Ms.Caroline Péguet
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 31 31/40 34

Press contact:
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-212-963 87 40

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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