Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda: Hurricane Omar DREF Operation No. MDRAG001

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The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

CHF 55,000 (USD 50,274 or EUR 35,032) has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Society in restocking its warehouse with relief times to assist 500 beneficiaries. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: Hurricane Omar brushed past Antigua and Barbuda on 15 -16 October 2008, causing severe rains that affected the two main islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and the smaller islets.

This operation is expected to be implemented over three months, and will therefore be completed by 21 January 2008 a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 21 April 2009).

The situation

On 16 October 2008, the centre of hurricane Omar was located approximately 180 miles northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. In Antigua and Barbuda, the National Emergency Management Organisation met and prepared for the passage of Hurricane Omar.

As the hurricane moved through the northern and central Lesser Antilles, between 15 -16 October, heavy rains affected the two main islands of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which has an approximate total population of 70,000 inhabitants. In three hours, six inches of rain fell on Antigua and Barbuda, causing the closure of the V.C. Bird International Airport for one day. The islands suffered loss of electric power for two days. Also, business and schools had to close for one and two days respectively.

According to the National Office of Disaster Services, national rescue teams evacuated more than 30 people from flooded homes that were submerged under water or had slipped from their foundations. No casualties have been reported.

The Antigua and Bermuda Red Cross Society assessed that approximately 5,160 houses sustained flood damages. The intense rains also caused damages to roads in several areas. However, no wind damages were sustained in the islands. Meanwhile, the agricultural sector and coastal areas suffered severe damages, as crops were lost and fishermen traps were completely destroyed by the passing of the storm.

Coordination and partnerships The Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Society is coordinating with the National Authority of Disaster Services to avoid duplication of efforts. The government is distributing beds to beneficiaries that suffered losses caused by the storm, as well as coordinating the allocation of donations received.

The Federation's Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) and the Regional Representation for the Caribbean in Port of Spain are communicating with and providing support to the National Society to replenish stocks as soon as possible so that Red Cross in Antigua and Barbuda may continue to assist the people most affected by hurricane Omar.

MAP - Antigua and Barbuda: Hurricane Omar (as of 23 Oct 2008) - Situation Map