Cuba + 1 more

The Caribbean: Hurricane Wilma OCHA Situation Report No. 7

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0188

OCHA Situation Report No. 7
Hurricane Wilma - The Caribbean
26 October 2005

Situation

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

Cuba

1. During the last 10 days, Cuba has been affected by hurricane Wilma. Almost 24 hours after the hurricane's exit from Cuban waters, recovery actions are still underway, mainly in western Cuba.

2. Most affected provinces include Pinar del Rio, La Habana and Ciudad Habana as well as the Isle of Youth. Damages were also recorded in eastern provinces such as Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo. Other provinces such as Matanzas, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara and Cienfuegos, in central Cuba, also suffered damages, mainly to power distribution system.

3. Ciudad Habana is estimated to be the most impacted by Wilma, where the water began to reside only on 25 October afternoon. The storm not only flooded Havana's streets but ripped off chunks of the famous Malecon seawall. Buildings lining alongside the Malecon received a severe beating; their doors and wooden window shutters were flung as first floor homes flooded with water. Cars were almost completely submerged and only the top of the public phone booths peeked out from the brown waters.

4. Initial estimates report the sea penetrating 700 meters in Ciudad Habana directly affecting 10,000 people. Although housing will be the sector most affected by Wilma, no official numbers of houses destroyed are available. Reports confirm that families have lost mattresses, linen, pillows and domestic appliances.

5. The government sent amphibious vehicles and rescue squads to evacuate nearly 250 residents from homes throughout the city. Main efforts are now directed to attend affected families, particularly those who lost their homes and personal belongings. Most evacuees, who did not lose or suffer serious impact to their homes, have returned home.

6. The government will present a needs assessment on 26 October. The most urgent needs up to now are blankets, plastic sheets and kitchen kits.

Mexico

7. Cancun's airport remains closed and it is unclear when it would reopen. The road to the nearest airport in Merida is impassable. It is not clear how many tourists are stranded.

8. On 25 October, the Mexican Red Cross started the distributions of food and water supplies, kitchen kits, hygiene kits, plastic sheeting and mosquito nets to Cancun, Puerto Maderos, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.

International Response

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

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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/.