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Caribbean Hurricane Season OCHA Situation Report No. 23

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Situation Report
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Originally published

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This situation report is based on information received from, the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETT) in the affected countries, the Regional Office in Panama and the National Hurricane Centre. This situation report covers the effects of storms and Hurricanes "Gustav", "Ike" and "Omar" in the Caribbean.

HIGHLIGHTS

- The Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, will visit Haiti on 23-24 October to review the response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the storms and hurricanes that hit the country.

- Shelter material is still a priority as well as early recovery interventions. The Flash Appeal is 23.5% funded.

SITUATION

1. The vulnerability in the Caribbean has significantly increased since the beginning of the hurricane season and only little rain can have a significant impact on the populations at risk. October is part of the peak portion of the hurricane season. Activity drops off only around mid or end October. The 15th tropical depression of the season has transformed into Hurricane Omar affecting on October 15, as a category three hurricane, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Saint Martin, Montserrat, and Saint Kitts and Nevis who are now in the recovery phase following assessments.

HAITI

2. Following the passage of Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, aid agencies continue to respond to the needs of disasteraffected populations with the support of clusters. The Emergency Relief Coordinator is visiting Haiti this week to review the response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the storms that recently hit the country.

Assessment Mission in the South East Department

3. From 15 to 17 October, OCHA and UNICEF conducted a joint field assessment mission in the South East Department. The mission visited Jacmel, Cayes Jacmel, Marigot, Côte de Fer, up country between Petit Goave and Côte de Fer and the road between Côte de Fer and Aquin. The mission found that water is the sector that has been the most affected by the hurricanes. Landslides and high level of water in rivers carrying debris of all kinds are responsible for hundreds of meters of broken pipes across the department. Catchment dams have also been affected and are either broken or filled with rocks, mud and debris. The Spanish and Haitian Red Cross are currently providing a temporary assistance for drinking water to Cayes Jacmel and Côte de Fer. On the shelter front, the housing sector has been little affected. A few houses were still located in flooded areas and significant quantities of mud could still be seen in the streets of Marigot and Côte de Fer. All the shelters have already been closed throughout the South-East department.

4. On the agriculture front, heavy damage is limited to very specific areas and most of the agricultural sector is already in the early recovery stage. Because of the cropping cycle and raining patterns, most agricultural recovery in non-irrigated areas must take place immediately. According to the Haitian Red Cross (HRC), a few communities located in remote areas where the roads are such as Belle Anse commune, Baie d'Orange and Maribol localities; Côte de Fer commune, sixth communal section Jamais vue and third communal section Bras Gauche; Jacmel commune, La Montagne thirteenth communal section. The mission recommended that multisectoral evaluation teams should be organized as quickly as possible under the coordination of the Departmental DPC to reach the communities not yet visited. The road to Belle Anse remains blocked.

Shelter and Non-Food Items

5. To complement the rapid assessment of emergency shelters completed one week ago in Gonaïves, the shelter cluster will launch an assessment focused on individual and host family setting country-wide. This exploratory tool will have the following output: define culturally preferred shelter materials used in urban and rural settings, define damage to home per department and areas, define the impact of the disaster on host family settings, define the impact of disaster on livelihoods and identify vulnerable groups and priority NFI needs. To date, shelter and kit gaps country-wide are as follows:

- 22,52% of tarpaulins needs covered; shortfall of 83,153 units

- 6.6% of plastic sheeting needs covered; shortfall of 100,281 units

- 34,5% of sheets and blankets needs covered; shortfall of 70,345 units

- 13,6% of sleeping mats needs covered; shortfall of 92,744 units

- 22,94% of mosquito net needs covered ; shortfall of 123,290 units

- 10,28% of tools needs covered; shortfall of 95,759 units

- 43.58% of hygiene kits needs covered; shortfall of 93,288 units

- 25,88% of cooking kits need covered; shortfall of 72,556 units

No significant gains on gaps have been identified. Shelter materials are still a priority. According to the Shelter Cluster, tents are a 'last resort' option.

Food

6. As of 21 October, WFP has distributed 5,263 metric tons of food items to 525,944 beneficiaries, including 694,456 fortnightly rations distributed to 266,670 beneficiaries in Gonaives. On 21 October, WFP/UNHAS airlifted military and ICT equipment for partners (OPS and UNDP) to the city of Fort Liberté in the North-East department as part of an interagency humanitarian cargo coordinated by the Logistic Cluster. Some 21MT were also delivered to Passe Catabois in the North-West department and remaining helicopter deliveries were completed in Seguin in the South-East department. On 20 October, some 5,800 new beneficiaries were reached in Plaisance, Nippes department, where 13MT of food assistance was distributed. WFP partner Caritas has been distributing assistance to hurricane-affected people in areas that had been inaccessible to date.

7. WFP/UNHAS successfully airlifted some 8MT of food commodities to Seguin, at 1,750 meters of altitude. Additional 21MT were airlifted, of which a part will be delivered to the community of Macary, where there is no landing area for the helicopter. These localities in the department of the South-East have been inaccessible to date. Distributions to targeted beneficiaries are done by WFP partner CROSE (Coordination Regionale des Organisations du Sud-est). In addition to the air operation, WFP deployed two 6x6 trucks in the department of South-East for food deliveries to remote areas, with difficult access by road. The WFP-contracted CITA II vessel was loaded with some 154 metric tons of food for the South department for targeted distributions in St Jean du Sud, Camp Perrin, Damassin and Maniche in collaboration with Caritas.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.