The Caribbean: Hurricane Irma Situation Report No. 04 (as of 10 of September 2017)
This report is produced by OCHA ROLAC in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the first period from 06 to 10 September, 2017. The next report will be issued on or around 12 September 2017.
• Irma hit Cuba as the first category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the country since 1924, causing massive destruction and widespread flooding along its northern coast.
• Irma upgraded to a category 4 hurricane as it pummeled Florida state in US on 10 September has left three people dead.
• Most of the Caribbean islands battered by Irma were spared by Hurricane Jose.
• People of Turks and Caicos are in urgent need of emergency relief.
• Livelihoods, housing and infrastructure in Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin/St.
Maartin, the US Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos are severely affected.
• Reports of extensive damage to agriculture are coming in from Haiti and Cuba.
• The number of dead and missing is expected to rise as communications and access are gradually restored across the Caribbean.
• Several organizations and Governments are deploying pre-positioned teams and supplies and assessments have begun in some areas.
people reported dead across affected territories.
people displaced in the Dominican Republic and Haiti
people in need of immediate shelter across the affected eastern
people affected by damage to water infrastructure in the affected areas of the Dominican Republic
Most of the smaller Caribbean islands which faced the onslaught of Irma were spared by Hurricane Jose. However, Hurricane Irma which continues to cause havoc had gained strength to turn into a category 5 hurricane as it made landfall in Cuba on 9 September.
Initial reports indicate extensive damage to agriculture in Haiti and Cuba. Assessments to be undertaken in the coming days will reveal the extent of needs.
Water and sanitation kits have been identified as priority needs in the most affected islands. The islands of Antigua and Barbuda and St Barthélemy and St Martin/Sint Maarten remain the most affected.
Various UN agencies and partner organisations have stepped in to provide interim relief and support with assessments.The United Nations Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams have already been deployed in the affected areas.
Peter Muller, head of the UNDAC team is in the Antigua working directly with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency and Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Government to coordinate assistance. Supermarkets and stores in Antigua are open and responders are expected to explore local purchase opportunities to provide relief.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is expected to deploy a team to Antigua on 11 September. The agency also intends to send a plane with Mobile Storage Units (MSU) and 10 MT High Energy Biscuits.
Widespread destruction of livelihoods, housing and infrastructure particularly in Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin/St. Maartin, the US Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos will require assessments and support in the coming months.
Restoration of essential services particularly in Barbuda and St. Martin/St. Maartin will be of critical importance. Pre-emptive measures in disaster risk reduction such as evacuation of people from vulnerable areas has helped keep the death toll low in the Caribbean hurricane crisis.
Governments such as the US, UK, the French, the Dutch have deployed military teams to assist in relief and recovery efforts. The Government of Panama is also put in a request to charter a flight for relief agencies to provide assistance to the affected in Barbuda.
Lack of communication and logistics affected by the hurricanes continue to pose challenges in the region. Members of the private sector such as DHL have volunteered to assist in the delivery of relief supplies. The United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) is in contact with the AYSS Superyacht Global Network to potentially mobilize private boats that are in Panama to ship aid supplies to areas impacted by the hurricane. The first vessel is expected to leave with supplies next week.
Several organizations have already activated emergency funding mechanisms for affected countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, as well as the eastern Caribbean.
CDEMA says recognition of a single coordinated system, adequate funding for response personnel and supplies and the availability of assets to move personnel remain the biggest challenges to response.
CDEMA has developed operational scenarios and plans with the affected participating Member States and development partners from eastern Caribbean.
Total pop. 12,316: exposed pop. 12,316; 100% population estimated exposure to high wind zones
There are no air traffic services yet in Anguilla and support will be required to restore damaged telecommunications infrastructure and health care services and facilities. Many homes have been damaged and livelihoods affected. Health care needs assessments are underway, and support for shelters and protection is arriving in the coming days. Several organizations are making funding available to address the needs in Anguilla. Hurricane Jose’s turn to the north spared Anguilla from a direct blow.
Antigua and Barbuda
Total pop. 87,858: exposed pop. 87,858; 100% population exposure to high wind zones
Almost all critical facilities in Barbuda, including ambulances have been destroyed by Hurricane Irma. The entire population was evacuated to Antigua in anticipation of Hurricane Jose, which fortunately skirted past the island.
Needs for Barbudans evacuated to Antigua include shelter, and access to education and healthcare. Support with telecommunications is needed to restore electricity in Barbuda. Medium-to-long term recovery needs identified so far include building materials for reconstruction, equipment to clean the island, supplies for schools and hospitals, health kits, dignity kits and seeds and other agricultural goods.
St Barthélemy and St Martin/Sint Maarten
Total pop. 87,020: exposed pop. 87,020; 100% population exposure to high wind zones
St. Martin, still reeling from the full force of Irma was spared by Hurricane Jose. Hundreds of soldiers and police havereportedly been deployed by the French Government to restore order in St. Martin where at least nine people have died .The island's jail was also reportedly destroyed and its 250 inmates remained at large and there have been reports of widespread looting. There are security concerns around health care facilities and medical stocks.
Enormous need for water and food has been reported in the islands of St. Martin and St. Barthélemy in the media which have been 80 to 90 percent destroyed.
St Kitts and Nevis
Total pop. 47,897; exposed pop. 47,897; 100% population exposure to high wind zones
Some air traffic has been restored. There are reported damages to health care facilities and health needs assessments are underway. Water and sanitation kits have been identified as key relief items that will be needed to address the effects of Irma on the islands. Some emergency funding has been made available to St Kitts and Nevis. Local weather reports cite very little wind from Hurricane Jose on Nevis.
British Virgin Islands
Total pop. 27,248: exposed pop. 27,248; 100% population exposure to high wind zones
Communications has been restored between the British Virgin Islands and CDEMA. Authorities have declared a state of emergency and report significant damage to water supply infrastructure. Water and food supplies are currently limited. Immediate needs identified include emergency relief supplies, water, tarpaulin, canned foods, plywood and sanitary packs. Authorities in the islands have requested emergency utilities personnel to restore connections on the islands. Four people have been reported as killed and the National Emergency Operations Centre has been destroyed.
United States Virgin Islands
Total pop. 93,173: exposed pop. 93,173; 100% population exposure to high wind zones
Four people are confirmed to have died in the US Virgin Islands, and authorities in the United States are expecting the toll to rise. Authorities in the United States have declared a state of emergency. Preliminary media reports cite extensive damage to homes and buildings, as well as destroyed schools. Many roads remain inaccessible.
Total pop. 3,651,232: exposed pop. 3,651,232; 100% population exposure to high wind zones
Air traffic has resumed, with some airports only allowing relief flights for coordination. Some airports remain closed. Media reports cite that several thousand people remain in emergency shelters and that rescue teams are still searching for missing people.
Total pop. 10,470,773: exposed pop. 10,454,596; 99.85% population exposure to high wind zones
Airports in the Dominican Republic have resumed normal operations. Thousands of people were displaced in the affected areas. Although health services were spared major damage, some health specialists have been mobilized to affected communities to address disease control, sanitation and hygiene needs. There is damage to water infrastructure that affects 11 per cent of the country’s population, according to the national water authorities. Food security assessments are underway and protection measures for vulnerable people in affected communities are being taken. Livelihoods in affected communities are anticipated to be an area of need when recovery efforts begin. Several organizations are making funds available to support relief in the affected areas of the Dominican Republic.
Total pop. 10,596,666: exposed pop. 9,830,946; 92.77% population exposure to high wind zones
Initial reports from organizations say that Haiti as a whole has been spared the worst, but that there are still concerns in the northern regions. Several organizations have pre-positioned resources and personnel available and on standby, and in some cases already deployed, to carry out assessments and address a range of needs including health and damage to healthcare facilities, water, sanitation and hygiene, damage to agricultural fields and livestock, livelihoods, food security, shelter and education. Many organizations are in active contact with the Government. Funding from various organizations has been released in anticipation of the needs in the affected people in the north.
Total pop. 10,596,666: exposed pop. 9,830,946; 92.77% population exposure to high wind zones
CDEMA has stated that aerial reconnaissance for the southern islands is required to ascertain the functionality of airstrips for delivery of aid. Supplies of food, water, and tarpaulin will be provided to the islands based on the needs identified by the reconnaissance. All airports remain closed. The full extent of the damage remains unclear. Funding has already been made available to the Bahamas to address what are anticipated to be serious concerns in the southern islands.
Turks and Caicos
Total pop. 45,020; exposed pop. 45,020; 100% population exposure to high wind zones
CDEMA has reported that Irma has damaged 70 per cent of the households on South Caicos, 70 per cent of the households on Providenciales, 50 per cent of the households on Grand Turk Island. Assessment teams are working to mobilize to arrive in Turks and Caicos and begin assessments. The people of Turks and Caicos are badly in need of emergency relief supplies.
Total pop. 11,266,280; exposed pop. 6,834,579; 60.66% population exposure to high wind zones
Irma made landfall in Cuba as a category 5 hurricane but weakened to a category 3 hurricane as it moved along the northern Cuban coast on 9 September, according to the US Government’s National Hurricane Center. With wind gusts of more than 200 km/hr, Irma has reportedly caused widespread flooding in northern Cuba including Havana, home to 2.1 million people where roofs have been ripped off buildings and caused power outages.
Reports of massive destruction to major crops such as sugarcane and plantain and poultry farms have come in. An FAO expert is ready to be deployed to Cuba for assessments. Other UN agencies such as UNICEF are moving ahead to provide support such as access to clean water. Concerns have also been raised about possible waterborne disease outbreaks as flooding is likely to persist for 36 hours at least.
Cuba’s meteorological agency, Instituto de Meteorología de Cuba, reported on 10 September morning that as Irma continues to drift away from Cuba, its effects will persist over the western and central regions. Waves up to nine meters high and sea surges in the whole coastline are expected through 10 September. In the morning, the coastal municipalities of Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus, the closest to the center of the hurricane, experienced 90 km per hour winds and gusts up to 150km per hour, accompanied by heavy rains. Sancti Spiritus recorded almost 13 inches of rain. Most of the coastal municipalities in these provinces are without electricity. Flooding has also begun in the coastal areas of the western provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque and La Habana, where over six-metre-high waves are expected.
Reports of damage throughout the country are coming in as Irma left Cuba late on 9 September.
In Cuba, the UN Country Team (UNCT) is working on a proposal to use funds from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
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