Anguilla + 5 more

Caribbean: Hurricane Frances - Information Bulletin n° 2

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.

In Brief

This Information Bulletin (no. 02/2004) is being issued for information only. The Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

The Situation

Today, Wednesday, 1 September, at 18.00 hours GMT, the eye of hurricane Frances was located 60 miles (85 kilometres) east-northeast of Grand Turk Island. Hurricane force winds extended some 80 miles from Frances' centre. Frances remains a powerful category 4 hurricane and, on its current course, forecasters predict that it will pass over the Turks and Caicos Islands later today and could hit the Bahamas tonight or on Thursday, 2 September. It is possible that Frances may also strike Florida by the end of the week, and a hurricane watch will probably be issued for portions of the Florida east coast tonight. A hurricane warning is in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands and the central and south eastern Bahamas; a hurricane watch is in place in the north western Bahamas. Reports from ham radio operators indicate that Grand Turk Island has been experiencing violent winds of up to 75 mph with damage to trees and roofs and power outages. Communications with the Red Cross Overseas Branch of Turks and Caicos confirm that the island has been impacted by hurricane force winds for most of the day.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

On Grand Turk, one shelter which has a capacity of approximately 1,500 persons is open and at 16.30 hours, around 100 people were sheltered there as there has been flooding in some areas. Four Overseas Branch Red Cross first aid volunteers have been deployed to the shelter to provide assistance. The island of Providenciales is also being affected by hurricane force winds, which are increasing as Frances moves along its course. On Providenciales, there are three designated shelters: at 16.30 hours, 18 people had taken refuge in the Clement Hill High School, 85 in the Abundant Life Church Hall and some 260 persons in "Kishko's". A total of 60 Red Cross volunteers are on standby in Turks and Caicos. The Red Cross branch "centres" on the islands of Grand Turk and Providenciales have established a schedule for communication. Both offices relocated their emergency operations centre since neither building is sound enough to withstand the force of the hurricane. The Red Cross is ensuring preparedness measures in coordination with the government's department of disaster management and emergencies. The Bahamas Red Cross Society is continuing preparedness for the hurricane. Yesterday, a meeting was held with all Red Cross volunteers, of whom 70 are currently working. The National Society will manage 30 shelters in the Providence Department and a further 270 shelters are available in the islands which are under government supervision. The Pan American Disaster Management Unit (PADRU) has mobilized two disaster management delegates who will arrive tonight in Nassau. In addition, three regional intervention team (RIT) members have been alerted for possible deployment.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

- In Panama: Nelson Castaño, Head of PADRU; email ifrcpa07@ifrc.org, phone (507) 316-1001, fax (507) 316-1082

- In the Bahamas, Iñigo Vila, Disaster Management Delegate, PADRU, e-mail ifrcpa16@ifrc.org

- In Geneva: Olaug Bergseth, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email: olaug.bergseth@ifrc.org, phone 41.22.730.45 35 ; fax 41.22.733.03.95

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org