Hurricane Dean OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 18 Aug 2007
This situation report is based on information from hurricane watch centres, UN Agencies, Regional OCHA Office in Panama and CDERA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency)

HIGHLIGHTS

Already 6 deaths due to Hurricane Dean passage in the Caribbean and serious economical damage. Hurricane Dean is forecasted to intensify into a Category 5 storm by Sunday 19 August as it goes through the central Caribbean Sea with Jamaica next on its path. Hurricane Dean is predicted to hit the southern coast of Haiti late Saturday 18 August between 17.30 and 21.30 local time, and is due to hit Jamaica on Sunday 19 August.

SITUATION

1. Hurricane Dean entered the eastern Caribbean on Friday (August 17), causing damage to rooftops and flooding streets in St. Lucia, Dominica and Martinique. Dean is expected to grow into a category 5 as it passes Jamaica and nears Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

2. Hurricane Dean is approaching the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity. As of 5 p.m. EDT, Dean's maximum sustained winds were 150 mph with higher gusts, 6 mph shy of Category 5 status. Hurricane-force winds extend out to 60 miles from Dean's center, while tropical-storm-force winds are being felt as much as 205 miles from the eye.

3. According to the Hurricane Center, the center of Dean was located about 455 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and about 165 miles south of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Dean is trekking west-northwest at near 18 mph.

4. On the island of St. Lucia, strong winds caused damage to houses and hospitals were evacuated. In Dominica, two persons were reported killed. In the Dominican Republic, the Government preliminarily reported 3 deaths, while the nearby island of Martinique reported 1 death. One third of Martinique's population of some 115,000 people have been left without electricity by the storm, and nearly 100 percent of Martinique's banana crop and 70 percent of its sugarcane crop had been lost. The Government of Barbados reported no damage to structures.

FORECAST

5. Hurricane Centre is forecasting Dean to intensify into a Category 5 storm by Sunday 19 August.

6. Dean is moving west-northwest at 17 miles an hour and a general movement toward the west and northwest is expected over the next 24 hours, according to the US National Hurricane Center. Maximum winds are near 150 miles an hour, with higher gusts. The hurricane could cause flash floodsand mudslides in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

7. Hurricane Dean is predicted to hit the southern coast of Haiti late Saturday between 17.30 and 21.30 local time (18 August), and is due to hit Jamaica on Sunday (19 August). Storm total rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches could be expected over Jamaica.

8. Hurricane warnings are in effect for Jamaica, the south coast of the Dominican Republic from Barahona to Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

9. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Haiti from Port-au-Prince to its northern border with the Dominican Republic.

10. A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the south coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano westward to Barahona, Punta Cana in Dominican Republic has been experimenting tropical storm and force wind gusts for the past several hours.

11. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Cuba from the province of Camaguey to the province of Guantanamo. A hurricane watch also is in effect for the Cayman Islands.

12. Amounts of 4 to 6 inches are possible over southern Haiti with maximum totals of 10 inches. The remainder of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and eastern Cuba could receive 2 to 4 inches of rain with maximum amounts up to 7 inches possible. Additional rain accumulations of 1 to 2 inches arepossible over Puerto Rico, with isolated storm. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

13. Personnel have been evacuated from oil productions platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

PREPAREDNESS

Jamaica

14. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has been advised by the Meteorological Service of Jamaica that a Hurricane Watch is now in effect for Jamaica as Hurricane Dean continues to move towards the island.

15. The ODPEM has fast-tracked its emergency response activities. The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) was activated on Saturday August 18. The ODPEM is advising all persons who live along the coastline or in low-lying and flood-prone areas to be on high alert to evacuate once the order is given. The ODPEM will provide the public with information on those specific areas to be evacuated, once this has been deemed necessary.The

17. UN in Jamaica has been in contact with OCHA and requested an UNDAC team of which only one member arrived in view of flights cancellation as airports were temporary closed.

18. UNICEF prepared stock supplies, 4 emergency health kits and 1,000 water containers. Copa Airlines has a flight scheduled on Wednesday 22 August and will allow space for UNICEF loads of relief items.

19. WFP has prepared food stocks in Haiti and is looking into the best way to move them to Jamaica or elsewhere if needed.

20. OFDA has mobilized teams throughout the Caribbean including in Haiti, DR, Jamaica, Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua Haiti

17. Donors, NGOs, international organizations, UN agencies and MINUSTAH attended a meeting called by the Minister of Interior to discuss preparedness measures (including available stocks of emergency items, funds, etc,) taken by different partners and to share information with the Government.

18. The Government requested MINUSTAH to support the evacuation of population in at-risk areas (about 15,000 persons on the corridor Fonds Verrettes - Fonds Parisiens, West department).It was also decided to reinforce warning messages through the radio and television. Another meeting with the National System on Risk and Disaster Management will take place.

19. World Vision Regional staff in Haiti and Dominican Republic have distributed informative materials and alerted communities. Food, clean water, medicines and emergency generators have been prepositioned.

20. WHO have medicines kits ready for 40,000 persons for 3 months and a 120-persons team is on stand-by. Items are pre-positioned in Cayes and Jeremie.

21. UNICEF has pre-positioned items, notably medical equipment and water purification tabs, in Cayes.

22. Various NGOS have prepositioned relief items and personnel such as MSF Belgium, Oxfam GB, ACF, USAID, World Vision, Chemists without Borders, CRD, Care, MDM France and Action Aid. 23. The Canadian Embassy has allocated USD 50,000; the International Development Bank has allocated USD 200,000 and USAID has offered USD 250,000 for the response.

24. ICRC has mobilized Teams in Cayes and Jacmel to collect information, provide logistics support, evacuate wounded and provide chlorine tablets to health centers.

25. OCHA in Haiti will be monitoring the situation overnight. The Caribbean Disaster Response Agency (CDERA)

26. CDERA has noted the potential threat and damage that can result from the impact of this Hurricane Dean and with its Partners is finalizing actions for immediate response and support if warranted.

27. The CDERA Coordinating Unit has contacted the Director General at ODPEM in Jamaica and is working to confirm regional technical and logistics support teams to assist in the response effort.

28. Teams have been placed on standby for providing assistance to the utilities sector. The Eastern Caribbean Donor Group is also prepositioning some members of their team in Jamaica to assist the North Western Caribbean Donor Group.

29. Contact with extra regional agencies is being made to complement regional effort. The CDERA Coordinating Unit continues to monitor the impact and threat of Hurricane Dean and stands ready to provide assistance if warranted.

30. OCHA continues to closely monitor the situation, including through the Regional Office in Panama, and remains in contact, with the Resident Coordinator and will provide further updates on the situation. This situation report together with further information on ongoing emergencies is also available on the OSOCC Internet Website http://www.unocha.org/vosocc and on the OCHA Internet Website http://www.reliefweb.int/.

For detailed information please contact:

Desk Officer (New York)
Mr. Ignacio León
Office Tel: +1 917 367-9960 Office Fax: +1 212 963-36 30 E-mail: leoni@un.org

GCMS (Geneva)
Ms. Aoibheann O'Keeffe
Office Tel: +41 22 917 4329 E-mail: okeeffe@un.org

OCHA Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean
Mr. Douglas Reimer
Regional Disaster Response Adviser
Office Tel. +507 317-1748 Office Fax +507 317-1744 Mobile: +507 6676-1689 E-mail: reimer@un.org

Press Contact: (NY)
Ms. Stephanie Bunker
Office Tel : + 1 917-367-5126 Office Fax: + 1 212-963-1312 Email: bunker@un.org

(GVA)
Ms. Elizabeth Byrs
Office Tel + 41 22 917 26 53 Office Fax + 41 22 917 00 20 E-mail: byrs@un.org

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