Cayman Islands + 4 more

Tropical Storm Gustav OCHA Situation Report No. 3

Attachments

This situation report is based on information received from, the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETT) in the affected countries, the Regional Office in Panama and the National Hurricane Centre.

HIGHLIGHTS

- Tropical storm "Gustav" has now become a category 4 hurricane and is heading towards Western Cuba.

- More than 67 people were reported dead over the past days as "Gustav" lashed the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. However there has been no casualty confirmed in Jamaica.

- There is no request for international assistance and preparedness and response coordination is on going well in the region.

- Meanwhile, Tropical storm "Hanna" is forecast to move near the Turks and Caicos Islands.

SITUATION

1. On August 25th, a tropical depression in the Caribbean strengthened into Tropical Storm "Gustav", and on August 26th rapidly strengthened into category 1 Hurricane. Hurricane "Gustav" made landfall in Haiti at approximately 1:00 pm at about 16km from the city of Jacmel. After weakening to a tropical storm, "Gustav" shifted course slightly on 28 August morning.

2. On 30 august 2008, "Gustav" became a hurricane category 4 on on the Saffir-Simpson scale. At 200 pm EDT, the eye of hurricane was located near latitude 21.6 North/longitude 82.5 West, near the Isle of Youth or about 155 miles/250 km East of the Western tip of Cuba and about 110 miles/180 km South of Havana. "Gustav" is moving toward the northwest and this general motion is expected to continue during the next two days. On this track, the center of "Gustav" will pass over Western portions of Cuba today and tonight, then emerge over the Southern Gulf of Mexico early on 31 August and reach the Northern Gulf by Monday morning. Data from an air force reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 145 mph/230 km per hour with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast as it crosses or after crossing Western Cuba and "Gustav" could become a category 5 hurricane.

3. Meanwhile, tropical storm "Hanna" is heading West-northwestward with no change in intensity. A tropical storm watch remains in effect for the southeastern Bahamas, including the Acklins, Crooked island, the Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands as well as for the Turks and Caicos islands. The centre of "Hanna" is forecast to move near or just Northeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands late Sunday or early Monday 1 September."Hanna" could become a hurricane.

HAITI

4. Tropical storm "Gustav" has already passed over Haiti and the alert has been lifted by the Haitian Government. The most affected departments are the South-East, South, Nippes, West, Grand-Anse, Artibonite and Centre.

5. A meeting with the Direction de la Protection Civile (DPC) was held on 29 August with the participation of UNICEF, WFP, PAHO/WHO, IOM, OCHA and UNDP. The DPC informed that so far, some 59 people died, 7 are missing and 22 injured, with some 3, 500 families (or 20,000 people) affected. However, due to limited access to carry out evaluations, this number was likely to rise to up to 25,000 - 30,000 affected families.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

6. In the Dominican Republic, the storm left 8 people dead following a mudslide that buried a home in Santo Domingo. Two persons were injured. Authorities said that some 6,255 persons were evacuated and more than 1,239 homes were damaged with 12 destroyed. Already some people are returning to their homes from the 8 activated shelters, with only 477 remaining in shelters. Some 50 communities are isolated.

CUBA

7. Cuba began evacuating residents of low-lying areas of Havana and from old buildings that might not be able to withstand a severe storm. "Gustav" is not expected to make a direct hit on Havana, but the city could expect at a minimum to feel tropical storm-force winds. A total of 73,000 individuals were evacuated from the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Holguín, Las Tunas and Guantánamo. On 29 August, the Cuban Civil Defense declared "cyclone alert phase" for the provinces of Havana, City of Havana and Matanzas. "Information phase" was declared for Villa Clara, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus. "Cyclone alert phase" was declared for the southern coast of Ciego de Avila and Camaguey as well as for the southern coast of Las Tunas.

8. Simultaneously, the Western provinces are now under "alert or information phases" and evacuations of risk areas are proceeding. Medical teams have been activated, health centers prepared and schools and other centres have protected their vulnerable equipment. The IFRC PADRU (Pan-American Disaster Response Unit) in Panama has two disaster management delegates on stand-by for deployment to Cuba if needed. The United Nations system is also closely monitoring the situation and the UNETT may be activated over the week end and is in constant contact with ROLAC.

JAMAICA

9. A significant decrease in rainfall has already been observed over eastern parishes and will soon be experienced across the rest of the island as "Gustav" continues to move farther away. Weather conditions will, therefore, be returning to normal today. There have been no fatalities confirmed. A total of 72 communities have been reported affected. The majority of reports are from the parishes of St Catherine (26), in the residential surroundings of the capital Spanish Town and Kingston, and St Andrew (18). Of concern are communities within the Hope River Valley and East of the Hope River where 3 bridges are reported damaged. According to the Parish Disaster Offices, there are 96 shelters opened housing a total of 1,605 persons. Damage to infrastructure, severe flooding and landslides were reported. Several bridges have been destroyed. The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) has been operational and recovery teams have begun to rescue those trapped or rendered homeless. Various hospitals were damaged. The Ministry of Agriculture is reporting damage to 70% of the banana crop in St Mary and 100% of the crop in St Thomas. The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) continues to closely monitor the progress of "Gustav" while the UNETT has been activated and is meeting to discuss the conduct of damage assessments. All 13 branches of the Jamaica Red Cross have been activated and have set up their local response mechanisms and are working closely with the parish disaster committees.

CAYMAN ISLANDS

The National Emergency Systems are activated and Red Cross shelters were opened on 20 August. The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated and Jondo is positioned there to monitor the situation and co-ordinate with other agencies. The Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) has preposition in a Disaster Management delegate in Grand Cayman to assist with relief operations.

Disclaimer

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