Caribbean: Hurricane Ivan Preliminary Appeal No. 21/04

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.

In Brief

THIS PRELIMINARY EMERGENCY APPEAL SEEKS CHF 1,752,697 (USD 1,389,560 OR EUR 1,137,899) IN CASH, KIND, OR SERVICES TO ASSIST 10,000 BENEFICIARIES ( 2,000 FAMILIES) FOR 6 MONTHS

NOTE: GIVEN THE DEVELOPING NATURE OF THIS DISASTER, THIS PRELIMINARY APPEAL WILL BE REVISED TO RESPOND TO THE ACTUAL NEEDS ARISING FROM THE CONTINUED TRAJECTORY OF HURRICANE IVAN IN THE CARIBBEAN. THE FEDERATION'S APPROACH TO THIS OPERATION AND THE STRATEGY OUTLINED IN THIS APPEAL ARE INTENDED TO BE FLEXIBLE; DONORS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE TIMELY SUPPORT, WITH MINIMUM EARMARKING. CHF 300,000 HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM THE FEDERATION'S DREF.

The situation

Hurricane Ivan, the most powerful hurricane to hit the Caribbean in ten years, has been moving across the region for several days, leaving death and destruction in its wake(see attached map). Ivan was a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale when it passed by Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, damaging hundreds of homes and cutting off utilities. Although these countries were not hit directly by the storm, the hurricane brought rain and winds of 90 miles per hour.

In the Grenadines, reports indicate that the islands of Carriacou, Palm Island and Petit Martinique experienced widespread damage. A damage and needs assessment is currently taking place in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and further details will be available in due course.

Populations in low lying coastal areas of Tobago were evacuated to shelters and over 560 people were accommodated in seven shelters on the island on Tuesday morning; most schools and businesses were closed on both Trinidad and Tobago. In Tobago, power has now been restored to around 60 per cent of the island.

Ivan then strengthened into a category 4 hurricane as it hit Grenada on Tuesday evening, bringing sustained winds of 220 kilometres per hour. Several hundred people from low-ly ing area of Saint George's, the Grenadian capital, were evacuated in anticipation of potential flooding. Ivan also flooded parts of northern Venezuela, although there was no major damage reported. Hurricane warnings were issued for Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, and hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings were also in effect for the Guajira peninsula in Colombia and the northern coast of Venezuela. These warnings have all now been discontinued. As the storm moved northwest, hurricane watches were issued in the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. A hurricane warning was also issued for Jamaica.

At present, it appears that the greatest damage was sustained in Grenada, where 12 people have died and approximately 90 percent of the country's homes have sustained damage. Approximately 60,000 people are homeless and there are currently between 5 and 8 thousand people accommodated in 47 shelters, 30 of which are official and 17 of which were established on an ad-hoc basis. There are at least 60 people in hospital with injuries. There is currently no water or electricity, and limited cell phone coverage on the island. Given the situation of chaos following the hurricane strike, there are major problems of looting. In support of the regional security system, a team is under deployment from Barbados to assist security officials in Grenada in restoring law and order. Details of the damage in Grenada were not immediately available because the storm cut all communications with the island, including radio transmissions. However, it soon became clear that the island nation of 90,000 people had been devastated by the hurricane, and officials in Grenada fear that the death toll will continue to rise.

The hurricane caused structural damage to nearly every major building in the Grenadian capital of Saint George's, including the island's emergency operations centre, prime minister's residence, several schools, the main hospital and a nearby prison. Also among the damaged buildings was the Grenada Red Cross Society headquarters. The National Society is working from a room in one of the shelters where the emergency operations centre has relocated.

After striking Grenada on Tuesday, Ivan strengthened into a category 5 storm as it moved northwest across the Caribbean Sea. Category 5 is the highest level on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, bringing maximum sustained winds of near 225 kilometres per hour. The projected path of Ivan puts it on a course to hit Jamaica by late Friday before continuing north to Cuba and then to the southern United States.

A high level mission by the Secretary General of CARICOM, the Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the President of the Caribbean Development Bank and the Coordinator of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) are due to visit Grenada on 10 September. Assessments are currently being carried out in the areas of housing, shelter, health, communication and infrastructure by a CDERA Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT). A meeting of organizations working in Grenada is scheduled to take place on 10 September.

A hurricane warning is in place in Jamaica and the Cayman Islandsas Hurricane Ivan approaches. All schools in Jamaica are closed and fishermen have been called back from sea. Current predictions indicate that Ivan will make landfall on Friday or Saturday in Jamaica and then move towards Cuba. In 11 of the 14 provinces of Cuba where the Federation is already providing support and assistance to the Cuban Red Cross in response to Hurricane Charley (see Request for Assistance no. 21/2004), hurricane preparedness measures continue. Evacuation orders have been issued in the Florida Key today, 9 September, given that forecasters predict that the storm could strike the islands on Sunday. In Jamaica, the Office of Disaster Preparedness andE mergency Management's (ODPEM) has activatedt he emergency operations centre. Two communities, Portmore and Port Royal, are to be evacuated and arrangements are currently underway. Residents in other coastal towns and low lying areas are also being encouraged to evacuate to safer places. Communications checks on Radio and satellite phones will be initiated between ODPEM and the CDERA.

The needs

The Federation is deploying a Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT) to both Grenada and Jamaica. Regional Intervention Team's (RIT's) are also currently active. CHF 300,000 has been release from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to continue relief assistance and assessment activities (see below).

Immediate needs: The following needs have been identified based on initial information coming out of Grenada:

Volunteers: additional volunteers from neighboring islands are urgently required to support the ten Grenada Red Cross volunteers whose homes have been demolished.

Shelter: Initial information coming from Grenada indicates that approximately 90 percent of the houses on the island have sustained some form of structural damage. There is therefore a major need fortents, p lastic sheetingan d tarpaulins to ensure temporary shelter and for zinc sheeting, nails and construction tools to replace roofs which were ripped away by the force of the hurricane.

Water and sanitation: Although the water supply in Grenada has been disrupted by the hurricane, it is expected that the system will be repaired within a few days. However, it will be necessary to ensure that sanitary conditions are maintained in order to prevent the outbreak of diseases. Therefore, water purification tablets and jerry cans to ensure that clean water is stored safely, together withh ygiene kits will be necessary.

Logistics: the Federation has launched a logistics Emergency Response Unit (ERU) to provide immediate support in the delivery and distribution of relief items.

Food supplies: Given the current chaotic situation, there will be a need to supply food to the affected population. Furthermore, the looting disorder will make it difficult for familiesto pr ocure food items.

Non-food items: The heavy rains, high winds and flooding have also damaged or carried away many basic household items. Therefore, kitchen kits, including basic cooking utensils,blankets, clothing and torch batteries will be distributed.

Longer-tem needs: Given the scale of the devastation in Grenada, it is anticipated that there will be a need for rehabilitation and repair of housing, especially in low-ly ing areas which are vulnerable to storm surges and flooding. The longer-term rehabilitation and repair component of the appeal also covers the need to provide support to the Grenada Red Cross Society to re-build their headquarters. In order to strengthen the capacity of the Grenada Red Cross Society, work will be undertaken with the relief department and national intervention team (NIT) members will be recruited and trained to respond in the event of future disasters.

In order to better prepare vulnerable communities for disaster, community-based disaster preparedness initiatives are planned, promoting education in risk mitigation and preparedness measures. Training will take place initially at National Society level and facilitators based in vulnerable communities will be identified for training and replication of knowledge. The capacity of the Grenada Red Cross Society in telecommunications will be enhanced through the provision of HF radios and technical training in the use of equipment. The National Society will also be provided with equipment and visibility items to facilitate the promotion of its work.

Coordination

The Federation is working closely with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) and forms part of the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group for Disaster Management. The core donor group includes the following organizations: the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), USAID/OFDA, the Department for International Development (DFID), the European Union (EU), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank (WB) and OXFAM. Support agencies include the Inter American Development Bank (IADB), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Global Climate Change (CPACC).

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Grenada: Mr Terry Charles, Director General, Grenada Red Cross Society email: grercs@caribsurf.com

In Grenada: Iñigo Vila, Disaster Management Delegate, Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) e-mail; e-mail ifrcpa16@ifrc.org

In Trinidad and Tobago:Julian Gore-Booth, Sub Regional Coordinator, e-mail ifrctt06@ifrc.org phone (1868) 627 2665; Fax (1868) 627 9627.

In Geneva: Iain Logan, Americas Department, e-mail logan@ifrc.org; phone (41 22) 730 4204; fax (41 22) 733 0395; and Eva Calvo, Media and Communications Department;email: eva.calvo@ifrc.org; phone: +41 79 217 3372 (mobile), or +41 22 730 4357 (direct).

In Jamaica, Stephen McAndrew, Operations Support Department, e-mail stephen.mcandrew@ifrc.org

In Jamaica, Marko Kokic, Reporting and Information Delegate, e-mailifrcht0 5@ifrc.org

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org

(in pdf* format - 246 KB)