Antigua and Barbuda + 6 more

Caribbean Hurricane Season OCHA Situation Report No. 22

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This situation report is based on information received from, the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETT) in the affected countries, the Regional Office in Panama and the National Hurricane Centre. This situation report covers the effects of storms and Hurricanes "Gustav", "Ike" and "Omar" in the Caribbean.

HIGHLIGHTS

- The 15th tropical depression of the season has transformed into Hurricane Omar affecting, as a category three hurricane, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Damage is however limited.

- In Haiti, shelter material is a priority. The Flash Appeal is 23.5% funded with early recovery remaining 0% funded.

SITUATION

1. The vulnerability in the Caribbean has significantly increased since the beginning of the hurricane season and only little rain can have a significant impact on the populations at risk. October is part of the peak portion of the hurricane season. Activity drops off only around mid or end October. The 15th tropical depression of the season has transformed into Hurricane Omar affecting on October 15, as a category three hurricane, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

HAITI

2. While Haiti was not under any threat from Omar, several cells may break away from the system and cause some showers and isolated thunderstorms. Following the passage of Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, aid agencies continue to respond to the needs of disaster-affected populations with the support of clusters. Map Action has extended its support to OCHA, clusters and UN agencies for one month.

Shelter and Non-Food Items

3. The focus of the shelter cluster this week was on Gonaives. Updated data on shelters and population flows is being collected. Cluster members visited potential relocations sites suggested by governmental authorities. Results will be circulated shortly. An activity implementation framework specific to Gonaives has been developed. The cluster members agreed on and disseminated a preliminary advocacy message to highlight shelter material as a priority, emphasize the gaps as well as request emergency shelter expertise. At the national level, experts would establish a working group to develop best practice guidance in response to local needs in transitional shelters.

The current gaps identified for non-food items at the national level include 104,546 tarpaulins, 101,972 plastic sheeting, and 101,972 sheets (preferred over blankets) 101,783 sleeping mats, 132,675 mosquito nets, 93,110 tools, 37,135 hygiene kits, and 58,803 cooking kits. However, those estimates will be adjusted as other information becomes available.

Water and Sanitation

4. UNICEF in collaboration with Action Contre la Faim have set up temporary water pumping and treatment stations producing an estimated 400,000 liters of water per day in Gonaives. The drinking water is then distributed in 28 locations throughout the city.

Food

5. As of 14 October, WFP has distributed 4,622 metric tons of food items to 483,104 beneficiaries including 12,300 new ones in previously inaccessible localities of Lagrange and Belanger in the department of Artibonite. In addition, WFP delivered some 10MT of food commodities on 10 and 11 October to the locality of Delatre in the department of South-East for distributions to new beneficiaries through Caritas. In Gonaives, WFP has distributed some 3,123MT of food assistance, which corresponds to 625,841 fortnightly rations distributed to beneficiaries. On 14 October, WFP has sent additional 120 MT of cereals to Gonaives by road for distributions to targeted beneficiaries. WFP is working in Gonaives with the following partners: Amurt, Care, Caritas, Direction Protection Civile, ILO, IOM, MINUSTAH, MSF, OCHA, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and Yele.

6. The food-for-work activities carried out by WFP's partner AMURT to clean up schools in Gonaives have reached some 2,165 beneficiaries for the 14 schools that have been completed. This week, additional 36 schools are being rehabilitated. More food-for-work activities are under discussion. The rapid family census exercise has been completed in Gaterau, Trou Sable and Tout Couleuvre. Data for these locations are now being processed for beneficiary cards to be printed out and distributed to the families. Census activities are currently ongoing in Raboto, Jubile, Bienac, Descahos, Pack Vincent and Praville.

Health

7. The normalization of the current health situation has resulted in partners decreasing their activities in the affected areas, except in Gonaives where IFRC, MDM, MSF and PSF continue to work. While no epidemic has been reported as of 13 October, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO are supporting biological analysis on eruptive diseases. The health sector's successes are inherent to the cluster's coordinated response to the health situation in the affected areas. Those efforts have enabled the implementation of mobile hospitals and mobile clinics by the Ministry of Health, Bombeiros Unidos, Caritas, IFRC-Haitian Red Cross, MDM Canada/France/Suisse, MSF Belgium/France, Health Partners, Pharmaciens Sans Frontières, SAMU, TDH, White Helmets and PAHO/WHO/UNFPA/UNICEF. In Gonaives, the temporary hospital set-up by MSF-Belgium is still functional with a 60-80 bed capacity. WHO has sustained anti-viral measures; the cold chain has been restored in Gonaives, enabling to restart the expanded immunization program.

8. However, gaps include the insufficient biological samples for diagnosing fevers and the precarious general nutritional situation of populations coupled with the lack of reference centers. In addition, access to healthcare is financially difficult, particularly for vulnerable populations whose income could decrease due to the increase in food prices and the purchase of school equipments and fees. In light of the above, the Health sector has identified priorities to be implemented countrywide. Those priorities include: 1) the facilitation of financial access to health care; 2) a nutritional assessment and an increase of the reference centers; 3) and increased access to safe water; 4) the expansion of anti-viral measures to prevent dengue fever; and 5) the Rehabilitation of a dozen run-down health centers in the Artibonite, North West, South, and South East departments. In Gonaives, one of the priorities is to support the reconstruction of a departmental hospital in a safe area. Meanwhile, WHO and the Ministry of Health will soon be supporting the fight against vector diseases and the rehabilitation of individual wells with the support of the WASH and Health clusters. The maintenance of mobile clinics in Artibonite, Grande Anse and West will be guaranteed by the IFRC, MDM and MSF. Furthermore, according to local health authorities, 450 persons living with HIV/AIDS were treated with ARV before the flooding.

Nutrition

9. MDM-France recently conducted a rapid assessment of the nutritional situation in Gonaives. Of the 147 surveyed children, 12 cases of moderate malnutrition (8.2 %) and 2 cases of acute malnutrition (1.4 %) have been identified. Partners in other parts of the country confirm the increased number of children attending feeding centers through t regular programs. UNICEF will complete data analysis of malnutrition in the South Department based on the data provided by Terre des Hommes. UNICEF is providing therapeutic food to MSF-Belgium and MDM-France to treat an estimated 500 severely malnourished children in Gonaives. The Agency provided to MDM-France one Emergency Health Kit (serving 10,000 people for 3 months), equipment to weight and measure children, water treatment materials and a water testing kit to enable MDM-France to maintain its 14 mobile health clinics throughout Gonaïves. The clinics carry out 300 consultations per day. A joint nutritional assessment will be carried out in November by the Government and the Nutrition Cluster. Meanwhile, in the North-West, South and South-East, nutritional assessments are being carried out by ID, Merlin, MSF and TDH.

Education

10. WFP school feeding activities have resumed this week throughout the country, except for Gonaives. The beginning of the school year was delayed by a month due to the damage caused by storms and hurricanes as schools being used as temporary shelters. UNICEF maintains its support to the Ministry of Education for the ongoing cleaning of 130 schools in Gonaives to allow children to return to class as soon as possible. UNICEF, WFP and other partners are currently discussing the implementation of a school feeding program. In addition, UNICEF and CRS are discussing a possible implementation of a project aiming at providing assistance to 10,000 of the most vulnerable schoolchildren in Gonaives.

Logistics and Emergency Telecommunications

11. Since roads are open between Port au Prince and Gonaives, actors are encouraged to use them as much as possible to transport cargo. The WFP-contracted CITA II vessel delivered food commodities to the southern peninsula this week. On 12 October, some 117MT of food commodities were transported to Miragoane and further were delivered to Fonds des Negres, Fonds des Blancs, and Paillant for distributions to targeted beneficiaries in collaboration with Caritas. The inter-agency radio room is temporarily installed at the WFP office in the MINUSTAH compound but will be relocated to the port.

Early Recovery

12. UNDP hired a waste management expert to evaluate the waste/mud disposal and make recommendations in the coming days/weeks. The main challenge in the cleaning process is to reach a balance between the cleaning of buildings, properties and streets, and the evacuation of the mud to the dumping site. An early recovery workshop took place with Government representatives from the ten regional departments as well as from the national level.

Protection

13. Partners continue to raise serious concerns over some privately-owned shelters from which internally displaced people have been forced to leave. UNICEF and MINUSTAH will implement a monitoring system for expulsions to as soon as possible. Additionally, they will advocate to obtain an agreement from the owners of the buildings to allow the population to stay until a clear relocation strategy is implemented. The Civil Protection has requested the Protection Cluster to draft a strategy of distribution that will take into consideration the needs of handicapped people. Handicap International and local authorities will work on a strategy regarding the obligation of non-discrimination and specific needs of vulnerable groups. The implementation of this strategy will be carried out under the technical support of UNICEF.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.