Update on Impacts on CDERA Participating States Aug 23 - Sep 7, 2008

Report
from Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency
Published on 07 Sep 2008
Message: Update on Impacts of Tropical Weather Systems on CDERA Participating States

THE EVENT

The CDERA Participating States of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were impacted by Tropical Weather Systems over the period August 23- September 8, 2008 that have left a trail of death, damage and destruction.

Trinidad and Tobago experienced heavy rainfall on August 23 and 27, and September 7 2008.

The intense rains and high winds caused extensive flash and riverine flooding, damage to roofs, fallen trees and landslides in several municipalities. The severe weather experienced by Trinidad and Tobago on August 23, 2008 went on to develop into Tropical Storm Gustav.

Gustav impacted Jamaica between August 27-28th, 2008. The eye of the storm made landfall in St. Thomas with maximum sustained winds of nearly 70mph (110km/h), with higher gusts. The heavy rains and strong winds affected the southern parishes with major impact to the parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew and Portland. Twelve deaths by drowning were confirmed after the passage of Gustav.

Tropical Storm Hanna and Hurricane Ike impacted the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and the Bahamas between August 30 and September 8, 2008. Hurricane Ike impacted the Turks and Caicos between September 6 and 7 as a Category Four Hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale with winds near 135 mph (215km/hr). Preliminary assessments have indicated that Grand Turk and South Caicos (TCI) have sustained significant damage. This is also true of Great Inagua and to a lesser degree on the other southern islands of the Bahamas which were impacted on the September 7th and 8th.

SUMMARY OF IMPACT AND RESPONSE ACTIONS

TRINIDAD

The intense rains and high winds on August 23 and 27, and September 7 2008 caused extensive flash and riverine flooding, damage to roofs, fallen trees and landslides. Impact was recorded in the following municipalities: Arima, Chaguanas, Couva/ Tabaquite/ Talparo, Diega Martin, Port of Spain, Tunapuna and Tobago. Several cars were also damaged and one death was reported.

Emergency assistance was required for the more than 600 affected people. The needs are being met at the national level.

JAMAICA

The main impacts on the communities affected were flooding, wind damage and landslides with a few cases of storm surge. Initial damage assessment has been conducted and reports have stated that 72 communities have been impacted and 4, 000 individuals directly affected. There are also 12 persons confirmed dead. There are also indications that the agricultural sector has been severely impacted. Damage assessment of the housing stock is ongoing, however approximately 200 houses have been completely destroyed in the worst affected communities.

Priority needs are being met nationally and through the support of several governments and multilateral agencies.

The Trinidad and Tobago Government has offered TNT $10 million and the Spanish government donated 7 tons of relief supplies, including tarpaulin, hygiene kits tents and blankets.

The United States Agency for International Development/Office Of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) has provided $100,000 to support aerial reconnaissance and an air bridge to reach communities that have been isolated due to road damage as well as the purchase and distribution of emergency relief supplies including hygiene kits, plastic sheeting, wool blankets, and jerry cans.

BAHAMAS

Initial reports have indicated that 70 to 80 percent of houses on Great Inagua in the Bahamas have sustained roof damage and 25% have sustained major damage. Damage assessment is underway. The Airport terminal in Great Inagua has been destroyed, but the landing strip remains operational. Initial relief efforts are well underway and are anticipated to be completed by next Wednesday, September 17, 2008.

One shelter remains open to accommodate families whose houses have been completed destroyed. A door to door assessment is being conducted by the Department of Social Services and the Ministry of Public Works.

The restoration of utility services is ongoing. Electricity services are expected to be operational within the next 36 hours and water supply by the end of the week.

Priority needs identified at this time are for building, roofing materials and labour, however, these are being sourced through national mechanism.

USAID/OFDA has provided support for aerial reconnaissance and a disaster specialist to assist the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in damage and needs assessment. The International Federation Red Cross/Red Societies has deployed a three (3) member Regional Intervention Team.

TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

The Government of Turks and Caicos Islands has declared Grand Turks and South Caicos Islands disaster areas. There is extensive damage to housing and infrastructure. Detailed priority needs are being identified.

The HMS Iron Duke has been supporting the response and relief efforts since September 7, 2008 and a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team has arrived to support the assessment that is underway.

Approximately 75% of the initial assessment of Grand Turk was completed by the CDERA led rapid damage assessment team which arrived on September 8, 2008. This team was mobilized by Jamaica, the sub- regional focal point for the TCI, and has now departed from TCI.

The Caribbean Electric Utilities Services Cooperation (CARILEC) has offered to support restoration of electricity services.

The International Federation Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies has deployed a three (3) person team from the British Red Cross on the Turks and Caicos Islands which is being supported by personnel from the Caribbean Regional Office.

A Senior Technical Officer from CDERA has been dispatched to support the operational response to South Caicos and is expected to arrive later today September 11, 2008. The CDERA Coordinator is also scheduled to arrive on Sunday September 14, 2008 to advance policy decisions with government officials.

Contact Details: CDERA 24 hour contact number is 246-425-0386