OCHA Situation Report No. 6
Hurricane Wilma - The Caribbean
25 October 2005
This message is not an official hurricane warning or alert for any country
1. Wilma was at Category 3 strength when it made landfall at Cape Romano, some 32 kilometres (20 miles) west of Everglades City, Florida on the morning of 24 October (1030 GMT).
2. At the same time, Tropical Storm Alpha became the 22nd storm of the season breaking the all-time record for the most active season in the Atlantic basin.
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.
3. In Yucatan and Quintana Roo states, more than 71,000 people, many of them foreign tourists, remained in emergency shelters for a third day, unable to leave because of the wide spread floods and damages.
4. Cancun was the area most affected by the storm, with some 300,000 people left homeless and another 700,000 whose dwellings suffered severe damage. The storm destroyed buildings, washed out roads, downed power lines and knocked out telephone service in the state. Access inside of Cancun is at the moment restricted to 60% of the total surface. At least three people died in Cozumel Island, which was battered for two days by the storm. The other four deaths were registered in the Yucatan Peninsula, bringing up the death toll to seven persons.
5. Wilma caused extensive damage to hotels in the tourist areas of Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel. In Cancun troops and federal police on 23 October worked to control looting at stores and shopping centers ripped open by Hurricane Wilma as hunger and frustration surfaced among the affected population.
6. The President asked the Congress to raise from USD 366 million to USD 1.1 billion the sum to be disbursed from the National Fund for Natural Disasters (FONDEN) to assist the estimated 1 million people affected by the hurricane in the Yucatan peninsula.
7. All Mexican Red Cross available transport units will be deployed in relief effort in the Yucatan area. This will possibly cause a side effect on the still on-going relief operation in Chiapas, after the impact of hurricane Stan.
8. Cuba has been facing two weather systems simultaneously, with Wilma dumping torrents of rain and pushing waves over retaining walls along the northwest coast, and tropical depression Alpha drenching provinces to the east. The island recorded its wettest October in 41 years.
9. On 24 October flooding started in the entire coast of Ciudad Habana (Playa, Plaza y Centro Habana) due to sea penetrations. In the municipality of Playa alone some 3,000 houses were affected by the floods.
10. Some 7 municipalities in the south coast, reported sea penetrations ranging from 800 meters to 1,700 meters inland with waves of up to 2 meters high.
11. The number of evacuated people increased slightly to 638,879. Until now, most part of the western provinces are without electricity and roads suffered serious damages, principally in the province of Pinar del Rio.
12. Hurricane Wilma's arrival was announced by at least four tornadoes on 23 October, including one near Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Although Wilma spared the more populated areas of the state of Florida four people are reported dead. In Key West, 35% of the city was flooded. About 2 million Floridians were without power.
13. Some 2,400 National Guard troops were mobilized, while trucks packed with emergency aid and more than 30 rescue helicopters were ready for relief operations.
14. No request for international assistance has been made by either Mexico or Cuba.
15. 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.
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
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