Hurricane Dean OCHA Situation Report No. 3

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 19 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

1. Already 9 deaths due to Hurricane Dean passage in the Caribbean and serious economical damage.

2. The CDERA Coordinating Unit has been monitoring the progress of Hurricane Dean and together with its partners is finalizing contingency arrangements for a major Jamaica impact scenario.

3. The centre of Hurricane Dean has entered south of Kingston, Jamaica and east-southeast of Grand Cayman. Dean is expected to move west and west-northwest in 24 hours. The centre of Dean will be passing along or just south of the Southern Coast of Jamaica. Storm rainfall is expected in the region; these rains could cause life-threatening flash flood and mudslides.

4. Radio reports indicate flooded streets in Kingston, Jamaica.

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.

2. St. Lucia experienced fallen electricity poles, disabled bridges and several roof damages. The banana sector was severely damaged. One person was reported killed.

3. In Martinique torrential rainfall caused flooding throughout the island. Hurricane Dean destroyed the entire banana crop as well as 70% of sugar cane plantations. Economical estimation is about USD 200 million. One person died, although it is unclear whether the death was related to Dean.

4. The Government of Dominica reported between 100 to 125 homes was damaged. As in Martinique, the agriculture sector was extensively damaged. Two persons died.

5. In the Dominican Republic. Tropical Storm warning was discontinued overnight. The island experienced relatively little rain or wind. However, total of 1,580 people are in shelter a total and 316 dwelling have been affected. One boy was killed and 20 houses damaged along the southern coast (5 houses destroyed).

6. Hurricane Dean reached the southern coast of Jamaica. The Government of Belize has issued a Tropical Storm Watch Dangriega northward to the border of Mexico. Dean is a Category Four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Dean has the potential to become a Category Five hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean Sea tomorrow (20 Aug).

Haiti

7. Reported damage: Hurricane Dean has passed to the south of Haiti from east to west from 18 to 19 August 2007, causing rain and strong winds. No major flooding was reported, two people were killed and 10 were injured. Some homes were destroyed and several were damaged by winds, especially on the South /South-East.

Department
Deaths
Injured
Families Affected
Persons sheltered
Houses
Destroyed
Damaged
South

1
246
2222
185

South-East


138
360
29
109
Grand'Anse
2
6
20
1202
20

Nippes



200
10

West
2
2

1120


Artibonite






Centre






North






North-East

1
2
50

2
North-West






TOTAL
4
10
406
5154
244
111
(Information received from The National System of Management of Risks and Disasters, National Emergency Operations Centre).

8. Evaluation actions have been undertaken on the various departments in Haiti with at least 6 reports received, and more are foreseen for various sectors.

9. The mobilisation of material and fuel is ongoing and at Cayes Jacmel the Haitian government are working to re-establish its circulation.

10. 5154 people are placed in temporary shelters in high risks departments (SE, Nippes, Centre, Artibonite), the Red Cross has provided ambulances. One WFP truck has been sent to Jacmel with biscuits and 2 aid kits for 1000 people (UNICEF).

11. Following an evaluation in Jacmel from WHO and the Minister of Health and Population, it is confirmed that the roof of the emergency room of Jacmel Hospital has not been destroyed by the wind however, it is in very bad conditions. Debris clear-up is currently being undertaken.

12. UNICEF sent drugs to support 2000 people for 3 months to Jacmel Hospital on Saturday (18 Aug). WHO and the Ministry of Health and Population will be in charge of distributing the drugs in accordance to the needs that arise.

13. Information on conditions of tanks, latrines and water is continually collected. CARITAS is providing water and food to the displaced persons in the shelters.

Jamaica

14. The government of Jamaica called to all persons residing within close proximity of the sea to evacuate the area immediately. It has come to the attention of ODPEM that persons in the designated areas to be evacuated are refusing the Evacuation Order.

15. Cable and Wireless is reporting that some customers in St Thomas and St Catherine are without telephone service. Among the areas affected are Morant Bay, Bath, Trinityville, Cedar Valley and Seaforth.

16. Electricity was cut off as first winds began pounding the eastern end of the island. Constabulary Force, says teams of police personnel have been dispatched across the island to avoid any looting.

17. Preliminary report inform that out of the 1000 shelters provided, only 47 were occupied as the outer bands of the storm began hitting the island early Sunday (19 Aug), said Cecil Bailey of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.

18. Persons who live in flood-prone communities such as on banks of gullies, rivers, streams and major drains, and in areas that have flooded in the past must evacuate to safer areas (communities such as: Portmore, Port Royal, Caribbean Terrace, Portland Cottage , Bull Bay , New Haven , Nightingale Grove).

19. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pre-positioned assessment teams in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean islands, as well as Mexico, Belize and Central America. In addition, USAID has US$2,000,000 in commodities warehoused in Miami ready for distribution in the aftermath of 'Dean'.

20. Direct Relief is in contact with partners in the field to assure that material and financial support for emergency efforts needed for hurricane response will be provided.

21. The Jamaica Public Service Company, JPS, says it has started its phased shut down of its system in eastern and southern parishes.

FORECAST

22. At 5PM, the centre of Hurricane Dean was located near Lat. 17.3 N and Long. 76.8 W (50 miles/ 80km south of Kingston Jamaica and 320 miles/ 515km east-southeast of Grand Cayman). Dean is moving towards the west-near 20 mph/ 32 km/hr. It is expected over the next 24 hours to move west and west-northwest. The centre of Dean will be passing along or just south of the Southern Coast of Jamaica over the next several hours. Storm rainfall is expected in the region; these rains could cause life-threatening flash flood and mudslides.

23. Warnings have been issued for:

Haiti:

The hurricane warning for the southwestern peninsula of Haiti from Port-Au-Prince to the Haiti/ Dominican Republic border was replaced with a Tropical Storm Warning and the Tropical Storm Warning from Port-Au-Prince northward was discontinued.

Jamaica and the Cayman Islands:

A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Storm total rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches can be expected over Jamaica with maximum amount of up to 20 inches. Amounts of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches are expected over the Cayman Islands.

Mexico:

A Hurricane Watch remains in effect from Chetumal to San Felipe on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Hurricane conditions could also spread across Northern Belize, and Tropical Storm conditions possibly elsewhere in Belize.

Cuba:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for portions of Eastern Cuba, from the province of Camaguey eastward to the province of Guantanamo.

A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect for the following provinces of Cuba: Pinar del Rio, La Habana, Ciego de Avilia, Sancti Spiritus, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Isla de la Juventud. Eastern Cuba could receive 2 to 4 inches of rain with maximum amounts of up to 7 inches. Additional amounts of 2 to 4 inches are possible over Southern Hispaniola with maximum storm totals of 10 inches.

PREPAREDNESS

Belize

24. Belize local weather bureau indicated there remains a possibility that hurricane force winds may impact the north of Belize. Tropical storm force winds are anticipated for Belize City. Tropical storm force winds extend outward of up to 205 miles from the centre.

25. The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) held its second meeting this morning to discuss the threat of Hurricane Dean. The Meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister.

26. Representatives of UNDP, PAHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the Red Cross held a joint regional conference call with the UN Resident Coordinator in El Salvador and OCHA Regional Office in Panama to discuss preparedness strategy in the event of Dean reaching Belize.

27. NEMO also held long-discussions and the UN will factor decisions made by NEMO. It was announced earlier that Cayes will be evacuated in anticipation of the worst-case scenario of the hurricane moving south. The government will take measures to mobilise all its resources to pre-position food and other supplies and should be completed by Monday night (20 Aug). All NEMO Committees are activated and will work throughout the day to relocate supplies.

28. A preliminary Phase Call at 6 am Monday morning (20 Aug) is being considered for the entire country to ensure the public are at high alert in the event that the hurricane may change direction.

29. The UN will be re-adjourning Monday morning (20 Aug) to discuss relocation arrangements of all UN staff and dependents (subject to course of the hurricane). If Belize City is to suffer Tropical Storm force winds, the UN will not relocate. If however the hurricane makes a more southerly move, the situation will be reassessed and arrangements be made for movement on immediately Monday morning. The hurricane is predicted to make landfall in Belize on 20 Aug, early morning of 21 Aug (Tuesday).

30. Essential equipment of PAHO and the Red Cross will be stored in the elevated UNICEF building in the event of tropical storm force winds. The Belize City UN building will become the Crisis Centre. If the decision is taken to relocate UN staff, the UNDP building inBelmopan will house the Crisis Centre.

31. The UNCT has accepted the offer of a UNDAC preparedness team. NEMO has been advised of UNDAC’s expected arrival. It is recognised that while a hurricane may not impact Belize shores, heavy flooding may occur hence requirement for expertise and skills in disaster management. Experts on stand-by include Emergency Watsan from UNICEF, and a Response Team from PAHO.

32. It is essential that objective assessments are undertaken with the support of the UNDAC team, and appeals and requests for funds in relation to the hurricane are carefully reviewed.

Mexico

33. The Quintana Roo state government has set up 530 storm shelters in schools and other public buildings, with an estimated capacity to hold 73,000 people. Hundreds of people have already been ordered to evacuate from low-lying areas along the coast.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency

34. The CDERA Coordinating Unit has been monitoring the progress of Hurricane Dean and together with its partners is finalizing contingency arrangements for a major Jamaica impact scenario.

35. Emergency Communications checks with Jamaica were completed earlier today

36. CDERA has been in contact with members of teams already positioned in Jamaica and these include USAID/OFDA, UN/OCHA, PAHO.

37. Jamaica will activate its relief coordination plan today to facilitate entry of relief teams and supplies that may be necessary.

38. Regional Technical Support Teams are on standby for deployment as soon as possible.

39. The CDERA Coordinating Unit continues to monitor the impact and threat of Hurricane Dean and stands ready to provide assistance if warranted.

40. 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

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