Overview of Current Situation
- As a result of Hurricane Lenny, assessments
indicate that the vast majority of the damage was to infrastructure and
the environment, especially coastal roads, sea defenses, docks, and beaches.
The widespread destruction in the Eastern Caribbean has negatively
impacted numerous industries, including agriculture, fishing, natural resources
management, and tourism. The humanitarian needs are not overwhelming and
primarily consist of relief supplies and assistance for persons who lost
their homes. The affected countries' governments judge the primary
needs to be long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation aid, and assistance
in overcoming the economic losses. Estimates of damages and reconstruction
costs in the region are in the hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars.
- The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response
Agency (CDERA) issued a report on November 29 that summarized the findings
of damage assessments conducted by the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group, which
included USAID/OFDA. Based on this report, overall damage, impact,
and needs in the affected countries were listed as follows:
- Damage to lifeline services was minimal.
- Most of the damage throughout the region
was water-related. Comparatively, minimal direct wind damage was
- The costs of damage to the natural environment,
including beach erosion, mudslides, and lost trails have not yet been fully
estimated. Further assessments will have to be conducted to accurately
quantify these losses.
- Damage to hotels, restaurants, docks
for cruise ships, and beaches will have a negative impact on the winter
tourism season, which is about to begin.
- Damage to ports could negatively affect
the import and export of cargo for extended periods of time. Hurricane
Lenny was the second storm to hit some of these ports in the last five
years, causing the loss of repairs made after previous storms.
- The western coasts of the islands received
more damage than other areas. Many of the roads along these coasts
were washed away or severely damaged. The destruction of many sea
defenses has also left the remaining roads extremely vulnerable to erosion
in the near term.
- Since most of the displaced persons
are currently housed with family and friends, emergency relief needs are
not overwhelming. Long-term reparation and reconstruction of homes
is the main concern for these displaced populations.
- Hurricane Lenny has contributed to renewed
interest on the part of the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group in the continuing
need to incorporate vulnerability and risk assessments into reconstruction
and rehabilitation planning and to integrate disaster management and mitigation
into long-term national development plans.
- USAID/OFDA received a disaster declaration
cable from the U.S. Embassy in Barbados on November 22 for Antigua and
Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia.
On November 29, the U.S. Embassy sent a second cable requesting $25,000
each for the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Dominica. The
requested funds were provided on November 30 to the UNDP as a grant to
aid these countries in meeting shelter and other basic needs of the displaced
- On November 19, a six-person USAID/OFDA
team deployed to the region to assist with damage assessments and identify
potential emergency needs. The team was composed of the USAID/OFDA
Regional Advisor from Jamaica (Team Leader), a USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor
from the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Office in Costa Rica, and four
disaster specialists from Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue. The Team Leader
remained in Barbados to coordinate with the U.S. Embassy and international
donors and to communicate information back to USAID in Washington. Other
team members participated in the Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT) organized
by the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group to conduct preliminary analysis of
damages and needs. The USAID/OFDA team departed from the region upon
completion of these assessments.
- Additionally, USAID/OFDA provided $8,000
to fund four local engineers to join the RNAT to assist in assessments
of damages to infrastructure. The governments and reconstruction
agencies of the affected islands will use the results to determine reconstruction
- Total USAID/OFDA Assistance: U.S. $83,000
- At the request of the Government of
the Netherlands (GON), the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) supplied a
C-130 aircraft to transport relief commodities from Curacao to the islands
of St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius. The GON has agreed to fully
reimburse the DOD for the cost of the flight.
- The Eastern Caribbean Donors Group,
a group organized to coordinate donor response to natural disasters, deployed
the RNAT on November 21, to assist national disaster authorities in the
affected islands to conduct damage assessments. The CDERA Coordinating
Unit coordinated the effort and served as the primary contact for the receipt
and dissemination of information. Damage assessments were completed
by November 26, and the Donor Group met on November 29 to review the summary
report compiled by CDERA and determine long-term recommendations for donor
assistance. The Donor Group is chaired by the United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) and includes the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, USAID/OFDA, the
British Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA), various UN organizations, the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO),
the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-Ameerican Development Bank
(IDB), the World Bank, CDERA, the Regional Security System (RSS) and the
Organization of American States (OAS).
- The American Red Cross (ARC) deployed
personnel to the region to assist with assessments and to determine emergency
humanitarian needs. Based on a November 25 report from the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the branches
of the Societies located in the affected countries provided food and family
relief packages to displaced persons in the area.
- National governments and local disaster
management authorities throughout the affected islands worked closely with
U.S. and international agencies, the Donor Group, and relief organizations
to effectively assess emergency needs and report important information
on damages. The Governments of Dominica and Grenada have supplied
the U.S. Embassy with preliminary lists of reconstruction needs to rectify
damage to infrastructure.
- In the interest of effective coordination
of public response, we encourage monetary donations to appropriate organizations.
USAID encourages the public to contact directly those private voluntary
organizations (PVOs) currently working in the region to provide monetary
donations. A list of the PVOs may be obtained from the USAID web
site at www.info.usaid.gov.
The list is composed of PVOs that are registered with USAID and/or listed
by InterAction, a coalition of voluntary humanitarian and development organizations
that work overseas; InterAction can be contacted at 1-202-667-8227 x106,
or via the Internet at www.interaction.org.
Those interested in providing specific technical relief services or commodities
should contact Volunteers in Technical Assistance's (VITA) Disaster Information
Center for information and guidelines at (703) 276-1914 or via the Internet
- A tropical system that formed in the
Southwest Caribbean over the weekend of November 13-14, 1999 was upgraded
to Hurricane Lenny on the afternoon of November 14. As a Category
4 hurricane, Lenny produced maximum sustained winds of almost 140 MPH and
over 30 inches of rain in certain areas. After having minimal effect
on Jamaica, Hurricane Lenny turned to the northeast, passed south of Haiti
and the Dominican Republic, and crossed over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands, before stalling in the northeastern Caribbean for two days. Some
of the most severe damage was sustained in the Leeward Islands of French
St. Martin, Dutch St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua, Saba, St. Eustatius,
and St. Kitts and Nevis. The southern Windward Islands of Grenada,
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica, and Guadeloupe also
sustained damage to infrastructure from thunderstorms and high seas as
a result of the hurricane. Lenny was downgraded to a tropical storm
on the afternoon of November 19, and was further downgraded to a tropical
depression over the weekend of November 20 and 21.
additional information, please access the Natural Disasters section of
ReliefWeb at wwwnotes.reliefweb.int