Antigua and Barbuda + 1 more

Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis: Hurricane Irma - Emergency Appeal Operations Update - 6-Month Operations Update (MDR429009)

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

In early September 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean islands of Anguilla, Barbuda, British and United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. Irma, classified as a category 5 hurricane was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, with wind speeds of more than 185 miles per hour (298 km/hour) and torrential rainfall. Irma struck Barbuda in the early morning hours of 6 September 2017.

The hurricane severely affected livelihoods, housing and infrastructure and basic services such as health, telecommunication, electricity, water, sewage and waste systems, agriculture and fisheries on the affected islands.

The impact on Barbuda was particularly severe as the eye of the hurricane passed directly over the island. In total, 80 percent of all buildings were reported to have been destroyed or severely damaged, and the island was deemed uninhabitable, as all resident households (HHs) on Barbuda were seriously affected by the hurricane. The government of Antigua and Barbuda evacuated all inhabitants of Barbuda to the neighbouring island of Antigua, where most are still in government-run collective centres or being hosted by relatives.

Six months after the hurricane, factors preventing the population from returning include the lack of banking services and limited access to water and electricity across much of the island. Additionally, the schools on Barbuda did not reopen until 5 February 2018, and the return of the population is further complicated by irregular transportation between Antigua and Barbuda.

In Saint Kitts and Nevis, life has returned to normal for most of the population. Initially, it had been feared that Irma had caused serious damage in Saint Kitts and Nevis; however, subsequent assessments showed that the impact was minor, with only two homes severely damaged or destroyed.

Building on the IFRC Framework for Community Resilience, the National Societies and communities in Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis will benefit from activities designed to assist them to anticipate better, prepare for, reduce the impact, cope with and recover from the effects of shocks and stresses of disasters. An integrated resilience programming approach is presented in this EPoA, as an essential means to reduce vulnerability, maximize resources and avoid duplicating other partners’ efforts or other projects; therefore, this EPoA will not only support the humanitarian response to Hurricane Irma, but it will also directly contribute to long-term resilience building through the delivery of targeted disaster risk reduction (DRR), livelihoods, organizational development, shelter, health and water, sanitation and hygiene promotion initiatives to bolster the National Societies’ and communities’ capacities before, during and after the 2018 hurricane season.