Launched on: 9 December 1999 for two months for CHF 802,000
Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Allocated: CHF 100,000
"At a glance"
The Disaster/Situation: Hurricane Lenny, which struck on 17 November 1999, affected most particularly the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and Saint Martin. The worst affected were low-income families living in coastal areas whose homes were damaged or destroyed, those who lost their crops and fishermen whose boats and fishing equipment was washed away. The Federation appeal sought to assist the most vulnerable in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Food and non-food relief items were provided, together with construction materials for those who had lost their homes. Coordination was ensured with government agencies, donor organizations and Red Cross partners. In St. Kitts, a Red Cross radio system was installed, together with repeaters on both islands, which will ensure enhanced communications, particularly in times of disaster.
With winds of up to 240 kph, hurricane Lenny struck the islands of the Eastern Caribbean on 17 November 1999. After three days of heavy rain, huge tidal waves and strong winds, the hurricane left widespread destruction to housing, public buildings, water supplies, electricity lines, roads, piers and other infrastructure. It also affected crops and destroyed fishing equipment.
The most affected islands were Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and St. Martin. Those who were particularly badly affected included low-income families living in coastal areas whose homes were damaged or destroyed, farmers and sugar producers whose crops were washed away or destroyed, and fishermen who lost their boats and all their equipment.
Based upon assessments and coordination with various organizations, the regional delegation launched an appeal on 9 December 1999, to assist 4,700 beneficiaries for two months in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts and Nevis. The overall goal of the operation was to provide well-targeted emergency relief and shelter to the people affected by hurricane Lenny in the five affected countries, as follows:
- Food distributions for the homeless
- Emergency repairs of housing
- Replacement of fish traps
- Reinforcement of the capacity of the Dominica Red Cross Society, through the provision of radio and telecommunications equipment and the training of staff and volunteers in its use, maintenance and procedures.
During the initial phase of the operation, food and non-food relief assistance was provided to affected persons to ensure their livelihood as well as access to essential household supplies.
In addition, as part of the rehabilitation phase, several National Societies distributed construction material for the rebuilding of houses.
Hurricane Lenny occurred just 30 days after hurricane José had struck the same area, leaving hundreds of persons homeless and causing widespread damage in the region.
Red Cross Red Crescent action
During the first stages of the emergency, the Federation's regional delegation in Santo Domingo deployed a disaster preparedness delegate to St. Kitts and Nevis to support the National Society's response efforts in both islands.
In addition, in close coordination with the regional delegation, the American Red Cross deployed four delegates to support the National Societies of St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and the British Red Cross branch in Anguilla, in assessing damage and relief needs.
The Federation's regional relief coordinator for Central America and the Caribbean, based in Guatemala, was also deployed to the Caribbean to provide direct support to the five National Societies covered by the appeal and to monitor coordination with other organizations. All National Societies conducted preliminary assessments of damage and needs in coordination with local government.
During the initial phase of the operation, National Societies in the region provided food and non-food relief assistance to persons affected by the hurricane. Food distribution programmes in most of the affected islands were completed by the end of January 2000. Non-food supplies included kitchen sets, mattresses, blankets and hygiene kits. In addition, the National Societies of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines provided building materials to those whose housing had been damaged or destroyed.
Action undertaken by the National Societies
Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Society
DREF funds were mainly used for construction materials (galvanized zinc and plywood) to repair and/or replace roofs in Crab Hill, Antigua. Funds were also used for office material and transportation costs.
Dominica Red Cross Society
Food vouchers were distributed to 74 families, based on an average of four members each, for a one month period. Following a comparative bid analysis, a local merchant was selected and vouchers were issued to be exchanged for food supplies.
Household items were provided to 97 affected families. These distributions were carried out from the Red Cross headquarters in early January and completed in early February.
The American Red Cross donated USD 9,000 for the procurement of household items and USD 2,000 for supplementary food for 100 families.
Building materials were provided to 112 families whose homes were partially or totally destroyed. The issue of these materials commenced in mid January utilizing a voucher system, as applied to the food assistance programme, and continued for a protracted period until late March 2000. This delay was a result of the election period which impacted on the voucher collections, and in the lack of storage space for the materials while awaiting assistance of skilled workers and construction contractors from within the respective communities.
The American Red Cross donated USD 4,000 for tents, hygiene kits and home repairs.
Grenada Red Cross Society
No DREF funds were transferred to the National Society for the hurricane Lenny operation. However, The Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives contributed CAN$ 30,000 to the Grenada Red Cross Society, earmarked for house repairs, reconstruction and fishing equipment. Eight families benefited from this project, having their homes rebuilt in the Parish of St. Johns.
St. Kitts & Nevis Red Cross Society
One month's food supplies were distributed to 230 families. Hygiene kits, cooking utensils and household items were also provided.
The American Red Cross donated USD 3,725 for hygiene kits, USD 6,500 for food packages and USD 4,775 for bedding packages.
A base station, mobile-sets and portable-sets were installed at the Society's headquarters in Basseterre, and repeaters were installed both in St. Kitts and Nevis.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross
Food packages were handed out on a weekly basis for a month to eight families that were in the shelter of Chateaubelair. Household items such as pots, pans and mattresses were also given to these families, according to individual needs. Additional food packages were distributed to four families in Layou, three in Bayhaut, three in Buccament, eight in Rosebank and two in Bequia (Grenadines).
The American Red Cross donated USD 2,000 for food packages, USD 1,000 for hygiene kits, USD 1,000 for cooking and eating utensils and USD 1,000 in cash.
The St.Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross contributed with building materials for the reconstruction of the houses of the eight families in the Chateaubelair shelter.
The American Red Cross donated USD 1,000 for building materials.
National Society Capacity Building
In Dominica, good working relationships were established with the local authorities. The Red Cross was recognized as the major relief agency which sought to meet the needs of the affected population.
In St. Kitts, a radio system was installed. Repeaters were installed both in St. Kitts and Nevis. Following this, radio communication is now possible throughout the island of St Kitts and with the Nevis Branch.
The response operations also assisted the National Societies in respect of preparation for future hurricanes and important lessons in coordination were learned from the response to hurricane Lenny, particularly since contributions were made from a variety of donors, including PNS and non Red Cross partners.
From the first stages of the operation, the National Societies coordinated their efforts and response with the relevant government emergency agencies and local organizations, with a view to avoiding duplication of assistance. Furthermore, the National Societies liaised with agencies which made contributions in the wake of the hurricane and coordination was ensured with Participanting National Societies, such as the American Red Cross.
The regional delegation played an overall coordination role in liaison with National Societies, donors and the media.
For further details please contact: Luis Luna, Phone : 41 22 730 42 74; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.
For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org.
This operation sought to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or long-term capacity building will require additional support, and these programmes are outlined on the Federation's website.
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