Cuba + 2 more

The Caribbean: Hurricane Wilma OCHA Situation Report No. 5

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0184

OCHA Situation Report No. 5
Hurricane Wilma - The Caribbean
24 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 1300GMT today, the center of category III Hurricane Wilma was located near latitude 26.3 North, longitude 80.7 West or about 45 miles southwest of west Palm Beach Florida.

2. A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for all of the Florida Keys, including the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay along the Florida west coast from Longboat Key southward and along the Florida east coast from Titusville southward, including lake Okeechobee.

3. Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect along the Florida west coast north of Longboat Key to Steinhachee River and along the Florida east coast north of Titusville to St. Augustine. A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect along the coast of Florida from north of St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach.

4. A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for the Cuban provinces of La Habana, Ciudad de La Habana and Pinar del Rio. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Isle of Youth. A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for the Province of Matanzas. These warnings and watches will likely be discontinued later this morning.

5. A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, including the Abacos Andros Island, Berry Islands, Bimini Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island and New Providence.

6. Wilma is moving toward the northeast near 25 mph and an increase in forward speed is expected during the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 110 MPH with higher gusts.

Situation

The following report is based on information provided by the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Cuba and Mexico, the national emergency management agencies in both countries.

Mexico

7. Although hurricane Wilma has moved away from the Yucatan peninsula, detached clouds will generate momentary rain accompanied by strong gusts mainly in the municipalities east of Yucatan and north of Quintana Roo. In the maritime zone the waves remain high. Intensive rainfall is also expected for the north and east of Campeche, and moderate rain accompanied of electrical thunderstorm for Tabasco and Chiapas.

8. Three people died and the number of persons affected could reach 1 million. There are some 200 temporary shelters operating in the states of Quintana Roo and Yucatan, housing some 45,000 persons. Of the 75,000 evacuated, about 16,000 are estimated to be tourists. The airport of Cancun is planned to open next Tuesday.

9. There is no electrical, telephone or gasoline service in the hotel sector in Quintana Roo. Between 30-40% of the population in Cancun has suffered some damage to their housing.

10. National Defense has mobilized 1,200 personnel, 4 planes, 5 helicopters, an engineer team and a community kitchen. Out of 105 emergency generators to be located in the affected areas, 30 are already in Quintana Roo.

Cuba

11. The number of evacuated people increased slightly to 625,850 the majority of which come from the western provinces of Pinar del Rio and Havana.

12. All international flights by Cuban airlines have been cancelled in western Cuba.

13. Heavy rains of up to 100 millilitres, wind gusts, and coastal flooding have been reported in western Pinar del Rio, while the hurricane's outer bands have already caused heavy rains. In some locations of Pinar del Rio the authorities have reported up to 154 millilitres of rain in 24 hours. In the Habana Province, sea penetration was recorded up to 1 kilometer over land.

14. Roads linking Isabel Rubio and Guane, La Bajada and Mantua have suffered heavy damages. The road access to Cabo de San Antonio is still interrupted.

15. Electricity installations in Pinar del Rio have also been damaged. Due to heavy winds, the electricity situation has deteriorated in La Habana and is expected to further worsen.

16. Meanwhile, tropical storm Alpha could also bring heavy rains over eastern Cuba where authorities have warned the population to take the appropriate civil defence measures.

Florida

17. The governor of Florida is asking to declare an Expedite Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Florida as a result of the direct effects of the state-wide impacts of hurricane Wilma. Mandatory evacuation for all Florida Key residents started on 22 October.

18. Response to Wilma began on 19 October, and is expected to produce significant damage associated with coastal storm surges, high winds, torrential rainfalls and inland flooding.

International Response

19. No request for international assistance has been made by either Mexico or Cuba.

20. OCHA is in close contact with the United Nations Resident Coordinator's Offices in Cuba and Mexico, and will revert with further information as it becomes available.

21. 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.

22. 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 Officers:

Mr. Ricardo Mena
E-mail: menar@un.org, direct Tel. +41- 22- 917-1455

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 2653
(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/.