Belize + 5 more

The Caribbean and Mexico: Hurricane Dean Appeal No. MDR49001 Operations Update No. 03

Situation Report
Originally published


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 185 countries.

In Brief

Operations Update no. 03; Period covered: 12 September to 13 October 2007; Appeal target: CHF 2,399,670 (USD 2,049,249 or EUR 1,445,584); Appeal coverage: 39%; Outstanding needs: CHF 1,454,057 (USD 1,241,723 or EUR 875,938).

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Appeal history:

- A Preliminary Appeal was launched on 22 August 2007 for CHF 1,591,000 (USD 1,321,429 or EUR 964,942) for 6 months to assist 35,000 beneficiaries (7,000 families).

- Appeal revised on 30 August 2007 to CHF 2,399,670 (USD 2,049,249 or EUR 1,445,584) for 9 months to assist 108,550 beneficiaries (21,710 families).

- The timeframe for this operation has been extended to 9 months.

- Final Report is therefore due on 22 August 2008.

Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 150,000 (USD 124,585 or EUR 90,909). Operational Summary: Immediately following the emergency and in view of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dean, the affected Red Cross Societies of Belize, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and Saint Lucia worked arduously to assess the needs and provide immediate support to the affected populations. In response, many Partner National Societies (PNS) have provided support through the Federation Appeal, such as the American, Canadian, Japanese, Netherlands, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish Red Cross Societies and the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society. The European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) as well as other international organizations have contributed financially to the relief operations in Belize, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and St. Lucia.

This Operations Update consolidates information gathered from 12 September to 10 October 2007. The operation has been extended from six months to nine months since recovery and rehabilitation activities will take longer to complete. After the identification of needs and damages, the main focus remains on providing relief items and recovering the livelihoods for 22,706 families (113,530 beneficiaries) in the affected regions. There is also a need for support to these Red Cross Societies in psychosocial support and other health activities including prevention of the spread of dengue in some of the affected countries.

The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its 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.


Hurricane Dean, the first hurricane of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, affected the countries of Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico and Saint Lucia. Reports indicated that at least a dozen people died and approximately 77,918 families were affected due to the hurricane. Dean entered the Caribbean through the St. Lucia Channel (between St. Lucia and Martinique) on August 17, while still a Category two hurricane. The storm damaged houses and buildings throughout the island chain and devastated the agricultural economies of Dominica, Martinique, and St. Lucia. Although the toll in terms of loss of life was limited, there was a considerable impact on livelihoods and on the islands' fragile economies.

Dominica's geographic location and topography make it vulnerable to natural disasters. Although Dean did not hit the country directly, hurricane force winds, torrential rains and high sea swells resulting from its passage affected several sectors of the Dominican economy. Swollen rivers, flash floods and landslides caused extensive damage to agriculture, housing and infrastructure. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported a loss of over 70 percent of total agricultural production. Other sectors such as fisheries and forestry were also destroyed. Preliminary reports from the Office of Disaster Management in Dominica reported that 771 houses had been damaged, while 43 houses had been completely destroyed; these houses will be replaced through a government Housing Revolution Programmeme that has already started. There was significant damage to infrastructure, roads and bridges as a result of landslides, fallen trees and mass debris.

The outer edges of hurricane Dean swept over the Dominican Republic and Haiti bringing heavy squalls latter on the night of 18 August. Although the hurricane did not make landfall in Haiti, the accompanying rains and wind gusts caused damage in the country, mostly in the coastal departments of Sud, Sud-est, Grande Anse, Nippes and Ouest. Assessments made by the Haitian Red Cross, jointly with the Federation and other partners reported an estimated 1,858 affected families, 73 completely destroyed houses and 33 houses left without roofs.

According to the Jamaican National Emergency Centre, the devastating winds of hurricane Dean that swept over the south of Jamaica left an estimated 3,272 houses completely destroyed, 16,650 houses incurred major damages, and 18,053 houses incurred minor damages. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and other members of the National Disaster Committee have assisted the people affected by hurricane Dean. To date, ODPEM estimates that 160,000 people were affected by Dean and has confirmed four deaths. In all, 130 communities in 12 parishes were affected by the intense winds of the Category five hurricane. The most severely impacted communities are found to be Yallahs in St. Thomas, Manchionean in Portland, Bull Bay and Caribbean Terrace in Kingston, Old Harbour Bay and Hellshire in St. Catherine and Rocky Point and Portland Cottage in Clarendon. There were also a number of communities in St. Elizabeth and Manchester deeply affected.

Corozal Town in Belize was hit by the outer edge of the southern band of hurricane Dean on 21 August. As a result, 8,000 people moved to shelters (86 hurricane shelters were opened nation-wide). 2,500 families were affected in the districts of Corozal and Orange Walk and the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. Electricity infrastructure was down and subsequently water systems were inoperative in the affected areas.

At least 400 homes were completely destroyed, while another 1,500 houses lost their roofs or have received serous damages. Livelihoods were greatly affected as a result of the storm; in particular the yields of cash crops (papaya and sugar cane plantations) were affected. Some 35,000 acres of sugar cane alone have been rendered unfit for harvesting. Subsistence farmers are also facing extensive loss of their crops.

Dean reached Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a strong category five storm before crossing the Gulf of Mexico and making a second landfall in Mexico on 22 August as a weaker category two storm. Homes were severely damaged and tens of thousands of people including many tourists were forced into shelters on the Yucatan Peninsula. The hurricane caused flooding and landslides across Central Mexico as it passed over the Sierra Madre Oriental range. According to joint assessments 207,800 persons resulted affected in the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, Veracruz, Hildalgo, Puebla and Tabasco. Five deaths were recorded in Puebla as a result of the effects of Dean and it is estimated at least 50,000 houses suffered damage. Latest reports indicate that the majority of houses have been repaired by the same home owners. Many crops were destroyed and agricultural workers are looking for loan and assistance programmes that enable them to purchase seeds in order to restore their harvests. Electricity, telephone and water services have been re-established and there are no health warnings reported; all roads have been rehabilitated.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Panama: Stephen McAndrew, Head, Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Panama; e-mail, phone (507)316 1001; fax (507)316 1082

In Panama: Maria Alcazar, Zone Relationship Management Coordinator, Americas; e-mail; phone (507)317 1300; fax (507)317 1304

In Trinidad and Tobago: Tanya Wood, Head, Caribbean Regional Representation, Port of Spain, email; phone (868)624 1557; fax (868)627 9627

In Panama: Jose Garcia Lozano, Head of Zone, Americas, Panama, email; phone (507)317 1300; fax (507) 317 1304

In Geneva: Linda Stops, Operations Coordinator, email, phone (4179)217 3376

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 programmemes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmemes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at

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