The Caribbean: Hurricane Season Situation Report No. 12 (as of 13 October 2017)
This report is produced by OCHA ROLAC in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from 06 September to 13 October 2017. The next report will be issued on or around 27 October 2017.
- Internal roads have been cleared in Dominica allowing isolated communities to access critical food and water supplies. Water and electricity services have been reinstated in urban areas, but other areas still experience periodic outages.
• As of 11 October, 2,911 people in Dominica remain in 108 assessed collective centres; and the total number of displaced people is unclear as not all centres have been reached.
• The Ministry of Education has announced plans to reopen 29 schools on 16 October, including 18 currently used as collective centres.
• Tropical Storm Nate affected at least 183 water supply systems throughout Costa Rica, leaving more than 500,000 people without access to clean water.
A month after Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean, humanitarian efforts across all islands are focused on restoring normalcy as the aid community gradually scales back emergency response and deployments. Humanitarian partners in Dominica are now working across the country, responding to the devastation left by Hurricane Maria, the second Category 5 storm, that ripped through the Caribbean in a two-week timespan.
A third storm, Nate, formed on 4 October in the south-western Caribbean along the coastlines of several Central American countries, travelling north and making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in the US Gulf Coast on 8 October.
Costa Rica was directly hit by a barrage of rainfall and heavy winds, leading to more than ten deaths and leaving more than 11,000 people stranded in shelters. National authorities report that approximately 85 per cent of the country was affected by Nate. Costa Rica is utilizing its entire local response capacity to respond to the affected areas.
In Dominica, internal access has been restored after blocked roads were cleared. Essential services are gradually being restored across the island. Water and electricity services have been reinstated in urban areas, but problems in other areas persist as national water networks are still experiencing periodic leakages.
More efforts are required to help the country transition to long-term recovery. According to the Government, all communities in Dominica have now received immediate life-saving relief.
A significant portion of the assistance provided in the first two weeks was delivered via helicopter to village committees and there is a lack of detailed information of deliveries at the household level. International organizations are working with government counterparts to identify gaps in coverage and targeting criteria for further assistance.
Food and safe water distribution continue to be priority tasks across Dominica. Supermarkets in urban centres are resuming normal operations. However, many commercial businesses have still not reopened. The Government, with assistance from the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners, have dispatched 150 metric tons (MT) of food supplies, assisting some 50,000 people in 80 locations. Assuming equal distribution, this aid represents approximately 3 kg of food aid per person.
As of 10 October, the Dominican Water and Sewerage Company (DOWASCO) had restored water supply to 14 out of 44 water networks and a large majority of the remaining networks remain under repair. Authorities have warned residents that the water being supplied to Roseau, although treated, is not safe to drink as there are breaks in pipes that could lead to contamination.
A thorough assessment of damage to houses is planned to corroborate extrapolated estimates based on Pacific Disaster Centre satellite imagery of 6,770 aerially surveyed houses. At present, these estimates suggest that at least 7,000 houses are moderately damaged, more than 10,000 houses are highly damaged and more than 6,000 houses have been destroyed.
Some 2,900 people remain in collective centres in Dominica, including in 32 primary and secondary schools, some of which are scheduled to reopen on 16 October. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working with the Government to find alternative temporary shelter options for the displaced people housed in schools; and says ensuring schools are prepared to reopen is a critical task. Organizations working in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector are carrying out rapid assessments in schools to identify areas that require repair and materials needed before classes begin.
The restoration of fully functional health services in Dominica remains a priority. As of 10 October, 19 health centres out of the 49 in country remain non-operational. Authorities and the humanitarian community have been working to address the repair of damaged facilities, well-being of staff and epidemiological surveillance. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has retained six international emergency medical teams (EMT) to provide emergency care and to attend to people with chronic illnesses until health services are restored.
In Cuba, the Government continues to respond to the humanitarian needs generated by Irma’s passage over the country in 11 affected provinces. Cuba has engaged its national level contingencies to address the damage to housing, health and educational structures, access to clean water and the full restoration of electricity and support for the agricultural sector.
Costa Rican authorities have reported damage in 77 of its 82 districts across six of the seven provinces in the country.
Guanacaste, Pacífico Central and Zona Sur are the most affected areas on account of the severe damage to road networks, flooding of entire towns and impact on essential services, including health facilities. Relief brigades have carried out search and rescue activities as well as emergency evacuations in affected areas.