Region Responds to Islands affected by Hurricane Lenny
Whilst Hurricane Lenny continues to adversely affect the Eastern Caribbean, Countries have begun the tedious process of assessing damage and restoring normalcy whilst remaining vigilant for any further disruptions from this very unpredictable storm system. As the picture of the damages suffered by Countries unfold, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency has taken on the challenge of coordinating in conjunction with the Eastern Caribbean Donors Group, an appropriate response to a very complex situation involving multiple island impact. In many ways, Lenny has proven to be anything but normal and has caused the disaster management and donor community to rethink their response strategy as many of the traditional mechanisms and established forms of assistance have to reviewed to make the interventions more relevant to the type of impact and needs emerging.
It is against this background that the following response plan was devised and is being shared to solicit support as the Region responds to the impact of Hurricane Lenny. Whilst the plan focuses on the affected States within the CDERA Mechanism, we are cognizant of the fact that many other neighboring Territories within the Caribbean have suffered significant damage and losses.
Hurricane Lenny impacted the northern Leeward Islands with both hurricane and tropical storm force conditions continuously over a three-day period. In the southern Windward Islands high seas and thunderstorms associated with the hurricane resulted in extensive damage to coastal areas and severe flooding.
The type of damage that has occurred is as a result of these elements combined. In the northeast, flooding, blocked roads and some minor infrastructural damage was the predominant effect whilst all the affected islands including the Windwards suffered severe coastal damage and beach erosion. As a consequence of these effects, lives were lost, persons rendered homeless, lifeline facilities damaged, utilities disrupted and social and economic activities interrupted for prolonged periods. The capacity of each territory to assess damages and respond to needs vary resulting in different levels of response. In Grenada, disaster areas have been formally declared whilst in Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands, coping mechanisms are adequate to deal with their respective situations.
In considering the impact of Lenny on the Region, the Eastern Caribbean Donors Group met on three occasions to be updated on the situation by CDERA and to discuss response scenarios. The Regional Response Mechanism including the Caribbean Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU) and CARILEC remain on standby.
Based on the preliminary assessments undertaken by the respective countries, it has been determined that the need for the reconnaissance mission as provided for under the ECAR Donors Group's Operations Order is not necessary.
Rapid Needs Assessment
It has been further determined that in order to expedite and support individual country assessments, that the Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT) will be deployed with a slightly different focus and mission. The team, which will be comprised of persons with specialised technical skills, will seek to support the impacted countries in translating impact assessments into reconstruction needs. The team is being assembled and is scheduled to deploy from Barbados on Sunday, November 21, 1999. Teams will be despatched to Antigua/Barbuda, Anguilla and St. Kitts/Nevis as these have been assessed to be the most severely impacted States.
The RNAT's mission will be to compile a detailed damage assessment and needs report as quickly as possible working in conjunction with local authorities to form the basis of a proposal to access support for countries under the CDB's Disaster Fund. The team will draw on expertise from CDERA, CIDA, PAHO, FAO and RSS/BDF.
In response to a request from Grenada for support, the CDB has deployed a team to that island, to gain first hand knowledge on their situation. The CDB's findings will be shared with CDERA for incorporation in the overall Regional assessment. The CDB has also pledged to provide Emergency Assistance to affected States through the CDERA Coordinating Unit.
Support for initial aerial assessments of Anguilla is being provided by the British Government which has facilitated the use of the Helicopter on the West Indies Guardship, the Northumberland and the use of the Helicopter which provides the air link between Montserrat and Antigua for aerial reconnaissance of Antigua and Barbuda.
CARIBBEAN DISASTER EMERGENCY RESPONSE
The Garrison, St. Micheal
TEL: (246) 436-9651
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Copyright © 1999 CDERA