Response to Hurricane Irma: Cuba Situation Report No. 1. Office of the Resident Coordinator (07/09/2017)

Report
from UN Country Team in Cuba
Published on 07 Sep 2017

This report is produced by the Office of the Resident Coordinator. It covers the period from 20:00 hrs. on September 06th to 14:00 hrs. on September 07th .The next report will be issued on or around 08/09.

Highlights

  • Category 5 Hurricane Irma, the fifth strongest Atlantic hurricane on record, will hit Cuba in the coming hours.

  • Cuba has declared the Hurricane Alarm Phase today in seven provinces in the country, with 5.2 million people (46% of the Cuban population) affected.

  • More than 1,130,000 people (10% of the Cuban population) are expected to be evacuated to protection centers or houses of neighbors or relatives.

  • Beginning this evening, heavy waves are forecasted in the eastern part of the country, causing coastal flooding on the northern shores of Guantánamo and Holguín Provinces.

1,130,000 people evacuated

+ 600 Tons of food secured

1,031 pregnant women protected

Situation overview

Heavy tidal waves that accompany Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, began to affect the northern coast of Cuba’s eastern provinces today, 7 September.

With maximum sustained winds exceeding 252 kilometers (km) per hour, the hurricane is advancing through the Caribbean waters under favorable atmospheric conditions that could contribute to its intensification.

According to the Forecast Center of the National Institute of Meteorology (Insmet), Hurricane Irma will impact the eastern part of Cuba in the early hours of Friday, 8 September, and continue its trajectory along the northern coast to the Central Region, where it is expected to make a shift to the north and continue moving towards Florida.

Coastal flooding is expected up to nine up to nine meters waves from tonight on in the northern coast of Guantanamo and Holguín. These provinces are still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The storm surge will extend over the northern coast of the central provinces of Cuba on Saturday, 9 September, before arriving in the capital on Sunday.

Forecasts include significant flooding and damage to low-lying coastal areas of the northern coast of all of these provinces. Possible flood warnings are also in place for low-lying areas of the southeastern Cuban coast.

The Cuban Civil Defense announced the Hurricane Alarm Phase for seven provinces in Cuba, with a population of more than 5.2 million people. Current evacuation plans foresee providing shelter for more than one million people.

Institutions, organizations and economic enterprises are implementing the measures foreseen in disaster reduction plans at the provincial and local levels, including the protection of economic and family assets.