Belize - Mexico - Hurricane Keith OCHA Situation Report No. 6

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 05 Oct 2000


Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2000/0192
OCHA Situation Report No. 6
Belize - Mexico - Hurricane "Keith"
5 October 2000

This message is not an official hurricane warning or alert for any country.

Hurricane "Keith"
5 October 2000 - 1200 hrs GMT
  • Latitude- 21.8 north
  • Longitude - 97.0 west (or about 60 miles/ 95 km east-southeast of Tampico , Mexico)
  • A hurricane warning is in effect along the Mexican coast from Tuxpan to Matamoros. A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch are in effect south of Tuxpan to Veracruz, Mexico, and a tropical storm watch remains in effect south of Veracruz to Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. A tropical storm watch is in effect from Brownsville to Port Mansfield, Texas.
  • Hurricane "Keith" is moving toward the northwest near 12-mph/19km/hr. Maximum sustained winds near 85-mph/140 km/hr with higher gusts. On this track, "Keith" will make landfall along the Mexican coast within the warning area later today.

Source: The National Weather Centre in Miami. For further information and updates on Hurricane "Keith", please refer to the National Hurricane Centre (USA) at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

Mexico - Preparedness measures

1. According to reports from the Governing Secretariat of Mexico, the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), the Early Warning Alert System (SIAT) has been activated for the States of Veracruz, Tabasco and the northern part of Chiapas. The population living in the high-risk areas have been advised to exercise maximum caution, adopt appropriate safety measures and follow the recommendations/instructions issued by the local authorities.

Belize

Situation

2. The UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in El Salvador (responsible for programme matters in Belize) reports that flooding is extensive and intensifying in the Belize, Corozal and Orange Walk Districts after subsiding in the Cayo district. Flash flood warnings continue for populations along several rivers in these districts. The state of emergency continues for the entire nation. The curfew continues for Belize City, Caye Caulker and San Pedro.

3. Search and rescue operations continue in the affected areas. As a result of an accident with a bus carrying evacuated people, the number of people dead is now of four, with ten confirmed injured. Up to ten persons are reported missing at sea. Following reports from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), some 20,000 people have been evacuated to shelters.

4. Damage continues to be assessed by the Damage Assessment Committee of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). On 4 October 2000, the Committee released a preliminary report stating that total damage is estimated at USD 200 million. This covers damage to tourism infrastructures/services; roads, communications and other infrastructure; agriculture and lost exports as well domestic crops. A full report is expected early next week. The latest reports indicate that:

  • Health - According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the infrastructure of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (National Hospital) has been extensively damaged. Unsanitary conditions have been registered, which constitutes a potential risk for disease outbreaks.
  • Housing - Findings of a PAHO/WHO assessment mission (including also officials from the Ministry of Health) to the affected areas indicate extensive damage to housing. About 50 per cent of homes have been destroyed in Caye Caulker, and some 30 per cent in San Pedro.
  • Road and bridge networks - The Roaring Creek Bridge that connects Belmopan to the rest of the Cayo district and the Guatemalan border is now clear and trafficable. The two major highways, the northern and western highways, continue to have sections under water and have restricted traffic. Several other major roads are flooded, especially in the rural Belize district where several villages cannot be accessed.
  • Airports - The International Airport runway is now operating but floodwaters along the various highways restrict access.
  • Utilities - Progress has been made in returning electric power and other utilities in the Belize district but Caye Caulker and San Pedro remain without basic utilities. Electric generators are in high demand on these two most affected islands.

Emergency requirements

5. According to a report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), immediate needs are for plastic sheeting, emergency food supplies, water and sanitation products, blankets, kitchen utensils and cots or mattresses.

International assistance

6. The UN Emergency Disaster Management Team continues to coordinate the UN response. PAHO/WHO reopened it’s office in Belize City today, but the UN emergency operations center remains in the UN House in the capital, Belmopan. Coordination continue, with NEMO and the resident donor community.

7. UN agencies' representatives, together with the Minister of Human Development, Women and Civil Society, are carrying out today an initial needs assessment mission to affected areas.

8. The Ministry of Health established a joint (Ministry of Health and PAHO/WHO) Assessment/Surveillance Team on October 3. The Assessment Team is compiling data reported from the different districts on a daily basis.

9. The United States Department of Defense's (DOD's) Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) provided one Chinook and two Blackhawk helicopters as well as six support personnel (in addition to the crews) to the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) from USAID/OFDA's Regional Office in Costa Rica to assist in the assessment and delivery of relief items.

Contributions reported to OCHA

10. A list of cash and in kind contributions reported to OCHA, as of 5 October 2000, is attached to the present situation report.

11. OCHA is prepared to serve as channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination/consultation with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. Funds should be transferred to OCHA account No. CO-590.160.0, Swift code: UBSWCHZ12A at the UBS AG, P.O. Box 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, with reference: OCHA - Belize - Hurricane "Keith". OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

12. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva, as indicated below, on relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding values by item.

13. Any future updates on contributions to this disaster may be found by clicking on Financial Tracking at the top of the page for this disaster on the OCHA Internet Website (http://www.reliefweb.int). Donors are requested to verify this table and inform OCHA Geneva of corrections/additions/values. Donors are encouraged to notify OCHA Geneva of their contributions to this disaster using the OCHA Standardized Contributions Recording Format, available electronically in the above mentioned Financial Tracking Website.

14. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers: Mr. E. Haegglund / Mr. C. Monteiro-Pereira / Ms. M. Kondo, Direct Tel. +41-22-917 32 99 / 13 83 / 19 97

Press contact: (in GVA) Mr. Donato Kiniger-Passigli, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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