1.1K+ HOMES IN BARBADOS AFFECTED BY HURRICANE ELSA
$12.5M IN LOSSES TO AGRICULTURE IN ST. LUCIA DUE TO HURRICANE ELSA
180K PEOPLE EVACUATED ACROSS CUBA AHEAD OF HURRICANE ELSA'S IMPACT
CARIBBEAN: 2021 HURRICANE SEASON
Hurricane Elsa, the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, began passing over the Caribbean as a Category 1 storm from 3 to 4 July, causing damage in Barbados, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic before downgrading back to a tropical storm on its way to Cuba.
Elsa first struck Barbados, who had not received a direct impact from a hurricane in 66 years. Media reports indicate damage to more than 1,100 homes, including some 60 homes destroyed, and to several schools and Government buildings. The storm felled trees and power lines, leaving much of the island without electricity. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is working to prevent sheltering in close quarters by securing temporary accommodations in hotels and launching a rebuilding program to expedite home repairs.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who are still dealing with the aftermath of an April 2021 volcanic explosion that has kept hundreds of people in shelter, reports damage to at least 43 homes, as well as a pair of police stations, a school and a health centre in the northern part of St. Vincent. While the Government expects the number of damaged homes and scope of damage to infrastructure to grow in coming days with the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) and international partners working to reach northern communities by boat to carry out assessments.
Damage assessments and repair operations are underway in St. Lucia following reports of at least one death and damage to a school. Per the Ministry of Agriculture, Elsa affected 75 to 80 per cent of the island’s crops, with losses estimated to be around US$12.5 million.
The Dominican Republic reports two deaths following heavy flooding in the provinces Barahona, Baní and San Cristobal, as well as localized power and water service interruptions that left more than 360,000 people with temporarily intermittent water supply.
Preliminary reports from Haiti place most of Elsa’s impacts in the south, with the central and northern part of the country being largely spared. While there are no reports of major damage so far, finalised assessments are still pending as the storm has only recently cleared the island. In Jamaica, there are already preliminary reports of flooding in the Kingston area.
Elsa is now approaching the southwestern coast of Cuba with wind speeds of about 65mph. The United States’ National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts as much as 5 to 10 inches of rainfall, with isolated highs of 15 inches, that will likely lead to flash flooding and mudslides in parts of Cuba. Officials have issued alarms for the provinces of Sancti Spíritus, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Matanzas and alerts for the Mayabeque and Havana and evacuated some 180,000 people across the island.
Elsa’s formation and speed have set records, as it is now the earliest fifth named storm of any season after forming three days before 2020’s Tropical Storm Edouard, as well as the tropic’s fastest-moving hurricane ever after reaching speeds of 31mph on the morning of 3 July.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.