Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda: Hurricane Omar DREF Operation No. MDRAG001 Final Report

Situation Report
Originally published


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 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 tor espond to disasters.

Summary: CHF 55,000 (USD 50,274 or EUR 35,032) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 23 October 2008 to support the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Society in restocking its warehouse with relief items to assist 500 families.

This final report highlights the objectives accomplished contemplated within the national society's plan of action. The Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Society's warehouse was restocked with essential relief items for 500 families. Additionally, 54 fishermen received wire rolls to replace their fishing traps, which were destroyed during the passage of Hurricane Omar on 15 through 16 October 2008.

The situation

As Hurricane Omar passed through the northern and central Lesser Antilles between 15 and 16 October, heavy rains affected the two main islands of Antigua and Barbuda, which are home to approximately 70,000 inhabitants. Three hours of rain covered the islands under six inchesof water, causing the closure of the V.C. Bird International Airport for one day. The islands suffered loss of electric power for two days and businesses and schools closed down for one to two days respectively.

National rescue teams evacuated more than 30 people from homes that were submerged and with the flood water undermining the foundations. No casualties were reported. Final assessments performed by the Antigua and Bermuda Red Cross Society confirmed that at least 5,160 houses sustained flood damages. The intense rain blocked roads and interrupted basic services. The agricultural sector and coastal areas suffered severe damages, as crops were lost and fishermen's traps were completely destroyed by the passing of the storm.

Since the beginning of the emergency, the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Society coordinated relief actions with the National Authority for Disaster Services to collect information and avoid duplication of efforts. The government distributed beds to the most affected people and organized the allocation of donations received from private companies.

The International Federation, through its Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) and the Regional Representationfor the Caribbean in Port of Spain, were in close communication with the National Society to provide the needed assistance during the emergency. The International Federation's Regional Logistic Unit based in Panama shipped relief items to replenish the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Society's stocks for 500 beneficiaries in order to strengthen disaster response for future emergencies.