Hurricane Irma - Sep 2017
As of 1 September, [NOAA]’s National Hurricane Centre (NHC), stated that Hurricane Irma’s centre was located near latitude 18.8 north, longitude 39.1 west at 5 PM Atlantic Standard Time (AST) (2100 [UTC]). Irma was moving toward the west at around 13 mph (20 km/h). A turn toward the west-south-west was expected by 2 September 2017. Irma is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, as maximum sustained winds are near 120 mph (195 km/h), with higher gusts; while fluctuations in strength (up or down) are possible over the next few days, Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through the weekend. (IFRC, 1 Sep 2017)
Irma made landfall on northeast Caribbean islands during the early hours of 6 September, affecting Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, St Barthélemy, St. Martin, the Virgin Islands and other islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Thousands of people have been evacuated from at-risk areas. Irma is predicted to hit Puerto Rico in the night, before continuing to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas. There is continued risk of catastrophic damage from hurricane force winds, storm surge, and flooding in areas on Irma’s trajectory. Hurricane Irma is being slowly trailed by Hurricane Jose, which is moving very slowly in the Atlantic Ocean and is anticipated to affect the northern Leeward Islands. 49 million people directly in Irma’s projected path. (OCHA, 6 Sep 2017)
As of 13 September, OCHA reported that Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, St Martin/St Maarten, the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos are the most affected islands and that critical needs in supplies and support were being addressed around the clock. In the Dominican Republic and Haiti, local authorities are managing response and restoration to normal activities in the affected areas with local resources. Cuba withstood damage to 13 of its 15 provinces, reporting 10 deaths and damage to agriculture, water supply, and telecommunications. Humanitarian partners continue to work and coordination with regional organizations and local governments throughout the affected countries as needs assessments continue to reveal the range and depth of the needs caused by Irma. (OCHA, 13 Sep 2017)
As of 2 October, the Office of UN Resident Coordinator in Cuba reported that there were 158,554 houses damaged, 980 health institutions affected, 95,000 hectares of agricultural land damaged and more than 500 kilometers of roads damaged. The most affected provinces were Camagüey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spíritus, and Villa Clara. Other territories, such as Guantánamo, Holguín, Las Tunas, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Mayabeque, and Havana, were also damaged by the hurricane. (UN ORC in Cuba, 2 Oct 2017)
As of 2 November, in the territories affected by Hurricane Irma, attention is being paid to the affected population with priority being placed on households with young children, pregnant women, persons with disabilities and the elderly, and those whose houses were completely destroyed. Along with the recovery of the housing, health and education sectors, and the production of food, actions are being taken to repair damaged hotel facilities at Santa María, Coco, and Guillermo keys, in the wake of the tourist high season that began on November 1st. (UN ORC in Cuba, 2 Nov 2017)
As of 30 November, WFP continues to provide assistance to the populations affected by Hurricane Irma in Central Cuba (Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Matanzas, Sancti Spíritus and Villa Clara provinces). To date, WFP assisted 637,000 people with rice and beans, thanks to the foods stocks already prepositioned in the country for a potential disaster response. The distribution of vegetable oil is underway. WFP also suppors national and local authorities with mobile storage units to strengthen food protection capacities. (WFP, 30 Nov 2017)
Three months after the destructive hurricane Irma, the traces left on the northern coast of Cuba are still being felt in the affected provinces, where the basic conditions and livelihood of millions of people were affected. (UN ORC in Cuba, 15 Dec 2017)
As of 12 December, only 10% of the population (about 200 residents) of Barbuda has returned, with the remainder of the affected population in emergency shelters or host communities in Antigua. The Government of Antigua & Barbuda have announced that the remaining emergency shelters will be closed in mid-December and that schooling on Barbuda will resume in January. These efforts are to encourage displace residents to return to Barbuda and begin the recovery process. (IFRC, 12 Dec 2017)
As of 17 January 2018, Barbuda, which was evacuated following the devastation left in the path of Hurricane Irma, remains largely uninhabited despite efforts of the Antigua and Barbuda Government to encourage the return of the 1,600 residents of the island. Fewer than 100 people, including an unconfirmed number of children, have resettled on the island resulting in Government opening more long-term shelter facilities in Antigua. (IFRC, 17 Jan 2018)
In Anguilla, by January 2018, 78 per cent of the population has restored access to water, all school- aged children are back in school but nearly 40 per cent of the population remains without electricity services. (UNICEF, 2 Mar 2018)
Appeals & Response Plans
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (The Netherlands)
- British Virgin Islands
- Dominican Republic
- Guadeloupe (France)
- Martinique (France)
- Puerto Rico (The United States of America)
- Saint Barthélemy (France)
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Martin (France)
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Sint Maarten (The Netherlands)
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- United States Virgin Islands
Maps & Infographics
Most read reports
- After the Hurricane – an overview of the damage Irma and Maria left behind
- United Nations Emergency Response Fund (CERF) Annual Report 2017
- In the eye of the Caribbean storm: one year on from Irma and Maria
- Transformation and Innovation in the Wake of Devastation: An Economic and Disaster Recovery Plan for Puerto Rico
- Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock remarks at “The Central Emergency Response Fund: a fund for all by all” High-Level Event in the Margins of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
UN Headquarters, New York, 26 September 2018
Let me offer five points of summary from the discussion.
Firstly, CERF is the first and aspires to continue to be the fastest. It was the first contributor to the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo in March/April this year. Just a few days after the massive influx of Rohingya to Cox’s Bazar from 25th August last year, CERF was one of the first to make an allocation. And CERF was one of the first to leverage funds for the hurricanes in the Caribbean last September.
The Latin America and Caribbean region is increasingly impacted by natural disasters as well as population movements. In 2017, more than 15.6 million people - including 8 million children were affected by natural disasters. Hurricanes resulted in aggravating the humanitarian situation of more than 1.4 million people in Cuba, Haiti and the Eastern Caribbean islands. Mexico was severely hit by two major earthquakes in September 2017, while floods and landslides further exacerbated the needs of vulnerable children and their families in Colombia and Peru.
As is known, K1 Britannia Foundation took a leading role in the immediate relief efforts post Hurricanes Irma & Maria, with relief work continuing in the form of material and construction help until June of this year. Having been involved in such an active way post-Irma, the foundation evaluated its role with partners during this time and realized that its job in disaster relief & crisis management is not over but has merely just begun. With key partners such as the cruise lines, the foundation has expanded its disaster relief focus and activities both on St.
Philipsburg, ST. MAARTEN – After almost 11 consistent months of disaster relief activities, K1 Britannia Foundation is rounding off their Irma-focused activities. Since the day of Hurricane Irma on September 6th, 2017, the foundation has been busy with immediate, mid and long-term relief.
St. Maarten - As K1 Britannia Foundation continues to look for ways to rebuild our island, it collaborated with a group of 6 contractors, led by Jacob Bonds of Jacob Bonds Quality Builders to bring them to St. Maarten where they volunteered their time, tools and expertise to work with the foundation to rebuild and repair a total of 5 various institutions within the 9 days they spent on the island. During the week of the work, over $11,500 was spent via all parties on materials and logistics to build and repair these institutions that work with our children.
Release Number: 147
ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands – One year after two back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), progress is being made in the territory’s recovery. Homes are being repaired, schools are back in session, roads are free of debris, ports are open and composite utility poles are standing tall.
MAUNABO, Puerto Rico – Throughout Puerto Rico, voluntary organizations are addressing the disaster-related unmet needs of survivors of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
More than 100 local and national voluntary organizations are helping Hurricane María survivors by cleaning and repairing damaged homes so they are safe and sanitary, and providing additional services to storm survivors to assist with their recovery.
UNDP mobilized US$25 million, restored buildings and boosted preparedness in hurricane-affected Caribbean
New York/Bridgetown, Barbados, 17 September 2018 – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) helped mobilize US$25 million, supported the revision and use of improved building codes and restored over 800 buildings for the most at-need people in Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, some of the countries hit hardest by two powerful back-to-back hurricanes that devastated several Caribbean islands a year ago, according to a new report released today.
A year ago, hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc in the Caribbean, making small nations like Dominica lose more than 200% of its annual GDP in a matter of hours. Today, many countries are still rebuilding. With the threats of climate change – which increases the number and strength of extreme weather events – and another hurricane season already underway, these countries are undertaking a number of efforts.
In September 2017 two category five hurricanes swept across the Caribbean, devastating island communities in the region. In the 2nd part of this special report marking the one year anniversary of hurricanes Irma and Maria hitting the Caribbean, UN News looks at how the UN has responded, helping communities get back on their feet and preparing them for the inevitability of future hurricane seasons.
15 year old Ahijah Williams is terrified by the idea of another hurricane season.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Three quarters of the population lives on less than $2 per day, making Haiti extremely vulnerable to price spikes in the global food market, as well as natural disasters.
Haiti also remains susceptible to environmental shocks, such as Hurricane Matthew, which devastated western Haiti in October 2016, and Hurricanes Irma and Maria in early 2017, which caused significant flooding in the north of the country.
**Nicola Allen is a woman with sparkling eyes and an energetic smile, but her face turns somber when she thinks back on September 6 of last year, the day Irma, a category five hurricane, wrecked her country. Her house flooded, she lost all her belongings including her furniture and she ‘was very, very scared’ for her five-month-old son and 10-year-old daughter.
Release Number: 269
“We’ll be here until the job is complete.” -- Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – One year after hurricanes Irma and María devastated Puerto Rico, FEMA, its federal partners and the Government of Puerto Rico are undertaking one of the largest post-disaster reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in U.S. history.
Release Number: 145
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – As the Virgin Islands makes strides recovering from hurricanes Irma and Maria, the united effort of government, private sector, nongovernmental agencies and humanitarian groups to meet survivors’ needs remains strong. Recovery after a disaster requires all levels of government, nonprofit organizations, private-sector businesses, and even survivors — each drawing upon their skills and capabilities to meet the needs of disaster survivors.
“Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.”
– Max Mayfield, former Director of the National Hurricane Center
By Frank Schott, Managing Director of New Program Development
Almost one year ago today, Hurricane Irma smashed into the leeward Caribbean Islands of Barbuda, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands. In the days following the hurricane, NetHope and its members and partners responded to restore communications capabilities in support of recovery efforts.
Since Hurricane Irma made landfall, Direct Relief has delivered nearly $40 million in medical aid to 63 partner healthcare facilities located throughout the Caribbean and southeastern U.S.
By Susan Fowler
Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, ripped through the Caribbean with Category 5 strength.
Sustained winds as high as 185 mph caused catastrophic damage to numerous island nations as the storm continued toward the U.S. mainland.
In September 2017, Primrose Thomas was at her home on Barbuda, when disaster struck: two Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, swept over the islands of the eastern Caribbean, wreaking chaos and destruction.
“The first time I came back, I didn’t know where to go. I couldn’t recognize anywhere. I had to ask for directions to my own house.”
Thousands of people in the region found themselves in the same situation as Primrose, and the UN played a major role in helping affected communities get back on their feet.
Julien, one of the beneficiaries of TSF's help tells his story "As we approach September 6th, we are all stressed and hope for a quite cyclone season. A year on, a large number of people are still living in tents or under tarpaulins that serve as their roof. The population holds on and adapts ... " These are Julien’s words, a young entrepreneur, living in the district of Rambaud, on the island of Saint-Martin. He was one of the beneficiaries of TSF’s help but also one of the many victims who greatly helped our teams during their operations.
Depuis cette nuit tragique du 5 au 6 septembre 2017, la Croix-Rouge française reste engagée auprès de la population de Saint-Martin. Il y a d’abord eu deux mois d’une mobilisation exceptionnelle, dans l’urgence. Puis, dès novembre, le lancement de projets de post-urgence et de reconstruction. Un an après les ravages de l’ouragan Irma, les vulnérabilités restent importantes et impliquent un accompagnement quotidien.