Bahamas, Cuba and Mexico: Hurricane Wilma Appeal no. M05EA024 Final Report

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 183 countries.

In Brief

Final Report; Period covered: 26 October 2005 to 31 December, 2006; Final appeal coverage: 79%.

Appeal history:

Launched on 26 October 2005 for CHF 1,918,000 (USD 1,498,000 or EUR 1,237,000) in cash, in kind or services to assist 14,000 families (70,000 beneficiaries) for six months.

The Appeal was initially extended by three months, until 26 July 2006 to allow the Cuban Red Cross to complete the relief operation.

With Operations Update no.2, the appeal period was extended to 31 December 2006 to allow complete implementation of activities by the Cuban and Mexican Red Cross Societies. A Final Report was therefore due on 31 March 2007.

Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated to initiate the operation: CHF 220,000 (USD 170,276 or EUR 142,497).

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: El Salvador: Floods and Volcanic Activity (Appeal 05EA020); Central America, Mexico and Haiti: Floods from Hurricane Stan (Appeal 05EA021).

Operational Summary

Immediately after hurricane Wilma and in line with the Damage and Needs Assessments (DANA) that followed, food and non-food items as well as shelter were identified to be the main areas of concern for the three counties targeted. Therefore, the emergency relief operation focused on distribution of food and non-food items to the affected population as well as providing shelter either with family members or in emergency shelters. Psychological support was also provided for the affected.

Relief operations carried out by the Red Cross Societies of the Bahamas, Cuba and Mexico closed by the end of March 2006 and the overall operation was finalized by 31 December 2006. While the first half of 2006 was mainly focused on post-emergency assessments and capacity building activities, finalization of the procurement of goods and the organization of training sessions and workshops, the second half of the year was focused on additional non-food relief items distributions in Mexico, trainings, and field visits.

Distribution of community guides for disasters and emergencies in Cuba, and Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) trainings as well as a national training on the Emergency Assessment Guide in Mexico contributed positively to raising awareness in disaster preparedness at community and National Society level.

This operation is aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

Background and Summary

Hurricane Wilma, the 12th Hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season, battered Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba, the state of Florida in the United States, and the Bahamas between 20 and 24 October 2005, causing 251 deaths and widespread destruction. The storm and subsequent flooding resulted in extensive damage to homes in the most affected regions.

In Mexico, the State of Yucatan and Quintana Roo were the hardest hit areas. And although Cuba was spared a direct hit, Wilma lashed the capital city of Havana on 23 October which resulted in the evacuation of people from high-risk areas, such as Granma, Santiago, Guantanamo, Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Pinar del Rio and Sancti Spiritus.

Fortunately, no deaths were reported in the country. When the storm struck the islands of the Bahamas on 24 October, Grand Bahama and Bimini received the brunt of the hurricane. The population of Grand Bahama was still 1 11 in Haiti, one in Jamaica, six in Mexico, six in Florida and one in the Bahamas recovering from the impact of hurricanes Frances and Jeanne that hit the country in 2004, which made the population particularly vulnerable.

Immediately following the hurricane and in line with the damage and needs assessments conducted in the three countries, food and shelter were announced to be the main areas of concern. Accordingly, the emergency relief operation focused on distribution of food and non-food items to the affected population and the sheltering of the vulnerable either with family members or in emergency shelters. In addition, psychological support was provided by Red Cross volunteers involved in the relief operations in the respective countries.

Immediate emergency response operations, such as distributions of food and non-food items were concluded for the most part by early 2006 and the emergency phase of the operation declared complete by mid-March. Residents were able to move back to their homes once the flooding had subsided.

The focus during the first half of 2006 was on post-emergency assessments and capacity building activities. These aimed at reinforcing the disaster response capabilities of branches and raising the awareness of the community in disaster preparedness. The Federation's Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) together with the National Societies of Cuba and Mexico continued finalizing procurement of goods and organized training sessions/workshops for capacity building in disaster preparedness and response.

The second half of 2006 was focused on several activities. One of the main activities was the distribution of extra non-food relief items in Mexico. In addition, two VCA trainings were held in the same country as well as an Emergency Assessment Guide Training. In Cuba, the distribution of the zinc sheets was completed and the Federation Regional Risk Reduction Officer carried out field visits to Cuba and Mexico, to provide the trainings and see what have been achieved during the emergency operation.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In the Bahamas: Marina Glinton, Director General, Bahamas Red Cross Society, Nassau; email redcross@bahamas.net.bs; phone (1 242) 323 7370; fax (1 242) 323 7404

In Cuba: Dr. Luis Foyo Ceballos, Secretary General, Cuban Red Cross, Havana; email crsn@infoed.sld.cu; phone (53) 7 228 272, fax (53) 7 228 272

In Mexico: Antonio Fernández Arena, Director General, Mexican Red Cross, Mexico City; email dirgral@cruzrojamexicana.org, phone (5255) 1084 4510/4511, fax (5255) 1084 5414

In Panama: Stephen McAndrew, Head, Pan American Disaster Response Unit; email stephen.mcandrew@ifrc.org, phone (507) 316 1001, fax (507) 316 1082

In Panama: Jose Garcia-Lozano, Head of Zone Office, Americas, Panama; email: jose.garcialozano@ifrc.org; phone (507) 317 1300; fax 317 1304

In Panama: Xavier Castellanos, Deputy Head of Zone Office, Americas, Panama; email: xavier.castellanos@ifrc.org; phone (507) 317 1300; fax 317 1304

In Geneva: Luis Luna, Federation Regional Officer, Geneva; email luis.luna@ifrc.org; phone (41 22) 730 4274, fax (41 22) 733 0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.