Belize + 5 more

The Caribbean: Hurricane Wilma OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0178
Hurricane Wilma - The Caribbean
20 October 2005

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

1. The National Weather Center in Miami reports that at 1200GMT today, the center of a dangerous category IV Hurricane Wilma was located near latitude 18.3 North, longitude 85.2 West or about 175 miles (285 km) south-east of Cozumel, Mexico.

2. A Hurricane Warning is in effect form San Felipe to Punta Allen on Yucatan Peninsula, including Cozumel and nearby islands, and Swan Island. The Government of Mexico has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the northern and western coasts of the Yucatan Peninsula, west of San Felipe to Celestun.

3. Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect from the south of Punta Allen to Chetumal Mexico and for Belize from the border with Mexico southward to Belize City.

4. Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for Honduras from the Honduras/Nicaragua border westward to Cabo Camaron.

5. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for provinces of La Habana, Ciudad de La Habana, Pinar del Rio and Isle of Youth. A Hurricane Warning remains in effect in Cuba for the provinces of Matanzas westward through Pinar del Rio and for the Isle of Youth.

6. Wilma is moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph (12 km/h). A turn toward the northwest is expected later today.

Situation

The following status report by country is based on information provided by the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Belize, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico, as well as national emergency management agencies.

Belize

7. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has put its resources in motion and has declared a Preliminary Phase of the Belize Hurricane Plan as a precautionary measure. Residents on Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye and along the coast of the Corozal District have been advised to seek adequate shelter. The population living in the outer atolls and islands beyond the barrier reef has been advised to immediately seek safe harbour as waves are expected to build up to 3 to 4 meters.

Cuba

8. The Government of Cuba has issued the alarm phase for the provinces of La Habana, Ciudad de La Habana, Pinar del Rio and Isle of Youth; and the alert phase for the provinces of Matanzas. The informative phase was issued for the provinces of Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus.

9. The authorities of the provinces, which are in the emergency phase, are executing the measures for the protection of the population and livelihoods. The measures adopted are (a) initiated the evacuation of families living along coastal areas and those prone to inundation; (b) the protection of technical equipment; (c) the protection of 471 thousand sacs of tobacco stored in the province of Pinar del Rio; (d) drain reservoirs to guarantee that they will assimilate the effects of precipitations; and (e) the reinforcement of the roofs of houses. Tourists are being evacuated from facilities in the west, and 5,296 persons were evacuated from provinces in Guantanamo, Granama and Santiago de Cuba by 17 October.

Haiti

10. According to the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator's Office in Port-au-Prince, heavy rains have affected various regions in Haiti. Five deaths were reported in the south. The emergency situation is being managed at local level, with support from MINUSTAH and United Nations Volunteers. The Humanitarian Section of MINUSTAH and UNDP are continuously monitoring the situation.

Honduras

11. According to the Permanent Commission for Contingencies (COPECO) precautionary evacuations have been conducted in the eastern departments of Gracias a Dios and Colón.

Jamaica

12. Severe weather associated with then Tropical Depression #24 and now Hurricane Wilma has been affecting Jamaica since 16 October. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is reporting that Eastern St. Thomas is currently inaccessible by road due to floods. Landslides have also been reported in St. Catherine, Trelawny and Kingston & St. Andrew.

13. In Moneague, the Jamaica Defence Force as well as the Parish Disaster Committee are engaged in both evacuation and rescue efforts. Distribution of food and non-food items by the Red Cross continues, primarily of persons still in shelters since the passage of Hurricane Dennis in July 2005.

Mexico

14. A red Alert has been established for Quintana Roo, where some 74,000 tourists are being evacuated out of Cancún, the Mayan Riviera, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel. Fishermen villages of Holbox and others have also been evacuated. In Yucatán a yellow alert was established mainly for municipalities in the eastern region.

15. OCHA is in close contact with the United Nations Resident Coordinator's Offices in Belice (covered from El Salvador), Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico, and will revert with further information as it becomes available.

16. For further information, please refer to the Website of the National Hurricane Service in Miami at www.nhc.noaa.gov, and www.solar.ifa.hawaii.edu/Tropical/Gif/atl.latest.gif.

17. This situation report, together with further information on other 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 Officer:
Mr. Ricardo Mena
E-mail: menar@un.org,
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 455

Mr. Dusan Zupka
E-mail: zupka@un.org
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 1645

Press contact:
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917-367 51 26

Disclaimer

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