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
Release date: May 23, 2018
Release Number: 133
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that additional disaster assistance is available to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The assistance allows for additional federal funding for debris removal, emergency protective measures, hazard mitigation and permanent infrastructure restoration as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
This action authorizes the following additional assistance:
Release date: May 11, 2018
Release Number: 128
U. S. Virgin Islands – Virgin Islanders still facing the loss of homes, businesses or cherished possessions in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria may find themselves struggling to cope with the emotional impact of the disaster and acknowledgement of the upcoming hurricane season. Local, territory and federal officials are urging survivors to be aware of the signs of emotional stress and seek help if they are feeling overwhelmed.
HUD No. 18-028 USVI
Disaster recovery funds to help repair damaged homes, businesses and infrastructure
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $1.6 billion to support long-term disaster recovery in the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. These funds are provided through HUD's Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program and are intended to rebuild seriously damaged housing, businesses and critical infrastructure.
HUD No. 18-028
Disaster recovery funds to help repair damaged housing, businesses and infrastructure
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded nearly $28 billion to support long-term disaster recovery in hard-hit areas in nine states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These funds are provided through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program and will address seriously damaged housing, businesses and infrastructure from major disasters that occurred since 2015.
In 2017, EM-DAT data indicates that 318 natural disasters occurred, affecting 122 countries. The impact of which resulted in 9,503 deaths, 96 million people affected, and US$314 billion in economic damages.
The human impact of natural disasters in 2017 was much lower than the last 10 year average, where events with extremely high mortality occurred, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti (225,570 deaths) and the 2008 Nargis Cyclone in Myanmar (138,400 deaths).
Geiger Gibson / RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative
Jessica Sharac, MSc, MPH and Sara Rosenbaum, JD
Policy Issue Brief #52
Release date: March 29, 2018
Release Number: 112
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – The federal program that provides emergency prescription assistance for uninsured disaster survivors has been extended through May 15 at the territory’s request.
Virgin Islanders who have no prescription insurance coverage and lost medicine or medical supplies due to hurricanes Irma and Maria may be eligible for a free 30-day replacement of certain drugs and medical supplies
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has extended for 60 days the period in which it will cover 100 percent of eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures undertaken by the U.S. Virgin Islands in response to hurricanes Maria and Irma.
The deadline to receive 100 percent federal reimbursement for eligible Public Assistance work is now May 5 for Hurricane Irma and May 14 for Hurricane Maria.
Release date: March 16, 2018
Release Number: HQ-18-022
WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that additional disaster assistance is available to the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands through an extension of increased federal funding, including direct federal assistance, to the Territory for debris removal and emergency protective measures undertaken as a result of Hurricane Irma beginning on September 5, 2017 and Hurricane Maria beginning on September 16, 2017.
Release Number: 95
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – Roads have been cleared of debris. Electricity is flowing. Stores are open. Students are in school.
Six months after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, recovery is well underway, led by the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and local officials with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its partner agencies.
UN agencies, NGOs, and government employees sharing the same workspace helped collaboration and information sharing.
Sector-specific and cross-sector coordination meetings allowed agencies and government actors to share information that reduced delays and increased collaboration between actors.
The lack of reliable baseline data greatly hampered efforts and delayed carrying out assessments and distributions properly during the response.
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – Free advice is available to Virgin Island survivors who are cleaning up and rebuilding after hurricanes Irma and Maria, including techniques to lessen damage to homes, businesses and property in the event of future storms.
Release date: January 5, 2018
Release Number: NR 75
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – Since hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the territory in September, federal assistance has been consistently flowing to survivors and communities to repair, recover and rebuild. So far, more than $456 million in federal funding has been provided.
Release date: December 22, 2017
Release Number: NR 69
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – Survivors of hurricanes Irma and Maria who lost their jobs as a result of the storms have until Dec. 29 to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
Release date: December 9, 2017
Release Number: NR 62
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – U.S. Virgin Islanders affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria now have until January 8, 2018to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Release Number: NR 58
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – After Hurricane Irma devastated much of St. Thomas and St. John three months ago, St. Croix became a base of operations for first responders, who began life-saving and life-sustaining missions to support survivors. But within two weeks, fierce winds and torrential rains from Hurricane Maria struck St. Croix, devastating even more infrastructure and services. Hurricane Maria caused further complications to the response for emergency workers and residents across the territory.
Release Number: NR 048
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – Since hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the U.S. Virgin Islands in September, more than $11.2 million in federal and territorial recovery grants has been disbursed to eligible homeowners and renters for temporary housing assistance and other needs.
Release Number: NR-047
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – They’ve come from as far away as Washington and California to help Virgin Island survivors of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Young women and men from AmeriCorps are taking on some of the toughest jobs in hurricane recovery – mucking out sodden homes, cleaning up debris and working on rooftops to make emergency repairs.
WMO report highlights impacts on human safety, well-being and environment
6 November 2017 (WMO) - It is very likely that 2017 will be one of the three hottest years on record, with many high-impact events including catastrophic hurricanes and floods, debilitating heatwaves and drought. Long-term indicators of climate change such as increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, sea level rise and ocean acidification continue unabated. Arctic sea ice coverage remains below average and previously stable Antarctic sea ice extent was at or near a record low.