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Caribbean Hurricane Season OCHA Situation Report No. 24

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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.

HIGHLIGHTS

- The Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes visited Haiti on 23 and 24 October. He called for continued efforts from the humanitarian community and appealed for donors to sustain their generosity.

- The situation in Gonaives and other affected areas in Haiti remain difficult in particular with regards to shelter and food security.

SITUATION

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

1. On 23 and 24 October, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, visited Haiti. He met with officials from the Government and partners to discuss the ongoing relief operations in response to the August and September hurricanes. He visited Gonaives where he described the situation as ¨dramatic and grim¨. Mr. Holmes announced that an additional allocation from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) would be released for Haiti on top of the $5.1 million USD allocated over a month ago, bringing CERF funding to $9 million USD.

Shelter and Non-Food Items

2. As pressure mounts for re-opening schools, more families are being evicted from schools that are being used as shelters. A quick assessment was conducted over the weekend by the Gonaives Shelter Cluster members (Oxfam, Care, Save the Children, AMURT, HRC, OCHA and IOM) in schools that are being used as shelters in order to determine the shelter needs of the displaced. Results are being processed and will be made available as soon as possible. Based on these assessment results shelter repair kits will be distributed to families whose houses have been damaged and are able to return to their locality of origin. IOM will be sending an initial number of 3,000 shelter kits and the IFRC/French Red Cross will be provided 500 shelter kits. UNFPA will also provide hygiene kits to targeted beneficiaries. The distribution plan is being finalized by the Shelter Cluster in consultation with authorities.

3. IOM and CARE have been conducting renovation works at the Praville camp to increase the space area between tents and to build a cooking area. In addition, other sites are being identified to possibly relocate displaced families who are being pushed out of schools. Authorities are in the process of sorting out ownership issues and according to the DPC, the decision to use the land must be taken at the COUD level. The Civil Protection has informed that all management issues linked to the setting up of transitional shelter sites will be administered by the Civil Protection and the Ministry of Social Affairs.

4. In order to adequately address shelter needs across the country, the Shelter Cluster has decided to set up two technical groups: one specific to Gonaïves and one based in Port-au-Prince for the rest of the country. The purpose of these technical groups is to review lessons learned from past hurricane seasons in Haiti and use best practices used in other countries to set standardized guidance for the shelter assistance package. The first meeting of the Port-au-Prince technical group will take place on Monday, 3 November at 9:00 am at the IOM office. Representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs, UNFPA, CWWH, Handicap International, IFRC, IOM and the Protection Cluster will be present. The Shelter Cluster invites other organizations with technical shelter expertise to participate in this working group.

5. According to the Shelter Cluster Environment Advisor, there are more damages in the South-East than in the South region. This correlates the Civil Protection's information on damaged and destroyed houses. In the South, around Les Cayes, Les Anglais and Cavaillon, wind resulted in no or minimal damage to roofs. Observed damages to houses are localized and mostly near rivers on floodable areas. This increases the risk of recurrence. If houses cannot be relocated to safer areas, warning and evacuation plans are needed. In the South-East region, damages to houses resulted from a combination of wind and flooding. Local capacity exists to address the needs: the HRC, UNFPA, IOM/GRAP/BND/GARR/Concern have already distributed NFIs while PADF and Plan International are planning to distribute hygiene and cooking kits.

Food

6. As of 27 October, WFP has distributed 5,804 metric tons of food to 572,119 direct beneficiaries. This includes 3,687 metric tons of food to Gonaives, corresponding to 707,086 fortnightly rations distributed to 266,670 beneficiaries. In addition, WFP continued to airlift food assistance to l'Asile and Plaisance today for distributions to targeted beneficiaries with WFP staff to coordinate with partner and local authorities. Distributions of some 13MT of food assistance to 2,500 beneficiaries were carried out by CROSE today in the community of Troumaro in Bainet. CROSE is WFP's major partner in the department of Sud-est. Furthermore, additional 500 beneficiaries received 1.5MT of food assistance in Passe Catabois, distributed by UEBH. WFP-contracted CITA II vessel left Port-au-Prince on 26 October with a cargo of 113 metric tons towards the southern coast. Food commodities were dispatched along the coast to Tiburon, Les Anglais, Port a Piment, Chardonnieres, Coteaux and Roche a Bateaux and distributions to targeted beneficiaries will be carried out by Caritas. Nevertheless, due to bad weather conditions will accost only on 29 October. WFP continues its helicopter assistance to inaccessible areas, such as the island Ile de la Tortue located in the North- West department. Staff participated in airlifts and coordination of future distributions with partners and local authorities. Several helicopter rotations were carried out to Ile de la Tortue, Seguin and Plaisance.

7. On 25 and 27 October, Caritas distributed some 88.6 metric tons of food in the communities of Passereine and Savanne Carree in Ennery, two communes located outside Gonaives. On 25 October, some 6,000 new beneficiaries received food assistance in La Montagne and Marbial, in the South-East. Additionally, food distributions were also carried out in Bainet. Some 24,350 metric tons of food assistance were distributed by CROSE to 11,000 beneficiaries in the above-mentioned localities. Also on 25 October, some 22 metric tons of food was distributed to beneficiaries in Passe Catabois, in the North-West department, by WFP partner Union des Eglises Baptistes d'Haiti (UEBH). On 28 October, WFP delivered 7MT food assistance to Ile de la Torture where a total of some 39MT have been airlifted. Distributions in collaboration with Caritas are being organized for this week.

8. The Norwegian Red Cross has donated 6x6 trucks to WFP to strengthen its logistic capacity in the country. A total of 23 trucks have reached Port-au-Prince and some 23 additional trucks are expected to arrive soon. The deployment of these trucks will increase WFP transport capacity tremendously as currently the fleet consists of only fifteen 6x6 trucks. Following an enhanced transport capacity, WFP will set up four maintenance centers for trucks in Cap-Haitian, Gonaives, Jacmel and Les Cayes in addition to the operational workshop located in Port-au-Prince.

9. As far as Gonaives is concerned, the data analysis following the rapid family census exercise has been completed. The census was carried out by WFP, Direction de Protection Civile, community leaders and partner NGOs. The total number of families in Gonaives (69,639) is being used to issue new WFP ration cards. Current distributions of food rations are done against the ration cards. The first large scale distribution of 103MT of food commodities using the new rations cards was carried in collaboration with CARE to some 17,250 beneficiaries in the community of Trou Couleuvre. Final results are shown below:

- Total Gonaives Population: 294,881

- Pregnant women: 10,178

- Under five children: 59,357

- Under eighteen: 119,358

- Total of families: 69,639

- Houses visited: 26,731

- Families of 1 person: 5,988

- Families of 2 persons: 11,318

- Families of 3 persons: 14,118

- Families of 4 persons: 12,567

- Families of 5 persons and more: 25,648

Agriculture

10. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced an agreement to provide Haiti with a USD 10 million package to help boost the country's agricultural sector, whose harvest was decimated by the recent hurricanes. FAO has agreed on a rescue package with the Government to boost farming output in the current and upcoming agricultural season by supporting hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers - 80 per cent of the agricultural workforce - many of whom are severely under-nourished. More than 240,000 farmers will receive an agricultural parcel consisting of vegetable seeds, cereal seeds, manioc, sweet potato and banana plants among other planting inputs.

11. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a UN agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries, is funding the USD 10.2 million agreement as part of FAO's recently established Initiative on Soaring Food Prices (ISFP).

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