UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Humanitarian Situation Report, 8 September 2017
With up to 90 percent of infrastructure destroyed by Hurricane Irma on some of the islands, the residents of Barbuda, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands are shoring up to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Jose by the weekend. The same northern leeward islands of the Caribbean, along with Antigua, are on hurricane watch for a Category 4 hurricane, packing maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour. UNICEF is launching humanitarian response to meet the immediate needs of the affected children and their children, while coordinating with partners on recovery efforts
Population in need. Pending full assessment, disaster officials are currently estimating the population most in need as follows at a modest level of 25 percent of the total populations:
Anguilla – 3,000
British Virgin Islands (BVI) – 7,000
Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) – 7,000
Barbuda - The mandatory evacuation is well on the way. It was estimated that over 800 of the 1,200 plus residents in the 67-square-mile island were evacuated to Antigua ahead of Hurricane Jose’s arrival. Those being housed in schools serving as shelters will also need support.
BVI - Premier Orlando Smith reported “almost total devastation of homes and businesses” and also confirmed four deaths. However, continued communication challenges prevents getting a more precise picture of the situation.
TCI - The all clear in TCI was given at 12.30 pm on September 8 – reports of flooding and powerlines down especially in Grand Turk, where the capital is located. The extent of damage is unclear with 12 unconfirmed deaths.
Pending the completion of the joint sub-regional rapid assessments being organized by CDEMA, estimated numbers based on information available are being used for the planning of immediate and second phase responses:
Humanitarian Leadership and Coordination
UNICEF ECA rapid response actions are being undertaken in full coordination with CDEMA and the UN System linking up with two Resident Coordinators (in Barbados and in Jamaica) and OCHA. A joint CERF is under preparation in conjunction with the Regional Office. EPF and/or Thematic Funds are also being sought from EMOPS while private sector fundraising in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region has been initiated by the Regional Office.
UNICEF’s Response with Partners
A UNICEF WASH Specialist journeyed to Barbuda on rough seas with disaster officials to conduct an initial assessment of the damage as well as met with evacuees in Antigua in the shelters.
Initial assessment revealed that up to 100 unaccompanied children arrived in Antigua from Barbuda as priority to evacuation has been given to children and the elderly. Initial care and support pending the arrival of their parents and adult care givers have been mobilized through the Department of Social Care.
Two UNICEF ECA Specialists are poised to deploy to TCI via Kingston, Jamaica which is the subregional staging point for assistance to TCI and the Bahamas. Two more are awaiting deployment to Anguilla and BVI as soon as air transport is available. Deployment of relief teams are hampered by inoperable airports and rough seas, especially with the impending arrival of Hurricane Jose.
A northern operation support unit of two ECA staff will be established within a week in Antigua to ensure rapid and efficient deployment and supply receipt and distribution.
UNICEF’s pre-positioned emergency supplies in Barbados and Antigua are being distributed in coordination with national authorities in the most affected communities. The first response supplies include tents, water purification tablets and hygiene kits for displaced families.
Other supplies such as tarpaulins, blankets and potable water containers are on order to be shipped from the Panama regional and global Supply Division stocks.
UNICEF has produced radio ads on health and hygiene; breastfeeding and child protection in emergencies which has been distributed to local radio stations. More than 3,000 fliers have been produced on handwashing; child protection and these will be distributed by UNICEF teams being deployed to the affected countries.
UNICEF has disseminated radio PSAs to local radio stations with key messages. UNICEF will utilize traditional as well as social media platforms for dissemination of key messages in health, child protection and WASH.
Trained facilitators from non-affected countries are being mobilized to complement local teams to provide psychosocial support for the most affected/impacted children and adolescents, ages 6 through 14 years, through the "Return to Happiness" programme.
An existing partnership agreement with the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is being modified to have rapid deployment logistics support for teams from non-affected countries and other partners.
DFID/UK will be procuring and shipping UNICEF Hygiene Kits from Supply Division stocks in Gibraltar to the affected UK Overseas Territories.
In partnership with UNICEF UK and others, fundraising efforts have been initiated extending international media coverage the BBC, SkyNews, Huffington Post and New Zealand radio.