The​ ​Caribbean:​ Hurricane​ ​Irma Situation Report No. 02 (as of 8 of September 2017)

This report is produced by OCHA ROLAC. It is prepared in collaboration with OCHA teams located in various countries and the regional office in Panama. It covers the first period from 6 to 8 September 2017. The next report will be issued on or around 9 September 2017.

Highlights

• After battering several islands in the Caribbean, rendering Barbuda and St. Martins near uninhabitable with catastrophic damage, Irma is passing over Turks and Caicos, southern Bahamas, northern Dominican Republic and northern Haiti.

• Preliminary reports from affected areas suggest long -term humanitarian needs. The scope is expected to become clearer as access and communications are restored to the affected islands in the coming days.

• Irma is expected to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane over the next few days.

• There is continued risk of catastrophic damage from hurricane-force winds, storm surge and flooding in areas on Irma’s trajectory.

• Several organizations are already pre-positioning teams and supplies to respond as quickly as possible.

• Hurricane Jose is on a tentative path back towards Barbuda, Antigua and Puerto Rico – the second hurricane in three days for these islands.

Overview

Anguilla

Total pop. 12,316; exposed pop. 12,316; 100% population estimated exposure to high-wind zones.

Authorities in Anguilla say the initial assessments show severe damage throughout the country. Homes, police stations, hospitals, schools, some emergency shelters and the fire station have all been damaged or destroyed.

One person is reported dead. Approximately 90% of the electricity infrastructure was damaged. 90% of government buildings and business structures suffered damage. The airport runway and most roads leading to the airport have been cleared of debris. British troops supported refurbishment of two shelters damaged during the hurricane The Government of Antigua has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Anguilla for Hurricane Jose.

Antigua and Barbuda

Total pop. 87,858; exposed pop. 87,858; 100% population exposure to high-wind zones.

After surveying the aftermath of Irma on Barbuda, the country’s Prime Minister, Mr. Gaston Browne, stated that the entire island has been reduced to rubble. Water and phone services were knocked out and one fatality, an infant, has been confirmed. Damage to the lone airport in Barbuda will force supplies to be sent by boat and helicopter from Antigua. Initial estimates place the cost of rebuilding at US$100 million. Fifty per cent of Barbuda’s population has been rendered homeless.

Critical facilities including roads and communications systems were ravaged, with the recovery effort set to take months or years. Some residents are expected to be evacuated to the larger sister island of Antigua – where damage was less severe – as part of relief efforts and ahead of the prospective arrival of Hurricane Jose in the coming days.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has issued a Hurricane Watch for Hurricane Jose. The Prime Minister has stated plans to evacuate Barbuda before the arrival of Jose.

St Barthélemy and St Martin/Sint Maarten

Total pop. 87,020; exposed pop. 87,020; 100% population exposure to high-wind zones.

The French Government has confirmed that at least two people have died and two others were seriously injured after Irma passed St Barthélemy and St Martin on 6 September. Irma is estimated to have destroyed 95 per cent of the French part of St. Martin. Reports from Sint Maarten, the Dutch side, state that power and water supplies are completely out.

St. Kitts and Nevis

Total pop. 47,897; exposed pop. 47,897; 100% population exposure to high-wind zones.

The Prime Minister, Mr. Timothy Harris, reports that St. Kitts was spared the worst. There is significant damage to property and infrastructure, but the airport is scheduled to reopen on 7 September.
The Government of Antigua has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for St. Kitts and Nevis for Hurricane Jose.

British Virgin Islands

Total pop. 27,248; exposed pop. 27,248; 100% population exposure to high-wind zones.

Significant damage has been reported from the British Virgin Islands, where critical facilities, homes and businesses have been devastated. Initial assessments forecast that extensive humanitarian assistance will be needed. Four people have been confirmed killed.

United States Virgin Islands

Total pop. 93,173; exposed pop. 93,173; 100% population exposure to high-wind zones.

Authorities in the United States have declared a state of emergency in the US Virgin Islands. Preliminary reports cite extensive damage to homes and buildings, and of land stripped of vegetation. A public-health emergency has also been declared in the US Virgin Islands.

Puerto Rico

Total pop. 3,651,232; exposed pop. 3,651,232; 100% population exposure to high-wind zones.

Irma made landfall on Puerto Rico on 6 September and left the island the next day, leaving at least three dead. Damage is extensive, but Puerto Rico was spared the eye of the storm as it passed along the northern coast.

More than two thirds of homes in Puerto Rico are without electricity, and 17 per cent are without water, officials have said. Damage assessments are ongoing.

Dominican Republic

Total pop. 10,470,773; exposed pop. 10,454,596; 99.85% population exposure to high-wind zones.

Irma is expected to affect the Dominican Republic in the next 48 to 72 hours. The National Emergency Operations Center has declared 17 provinces on red alert, mainly along the northern coast, recommending evacuation protocols to shelters traditionally used for flood response. The US National Hurricane Center is warning that the north of the Dominican Republic may expect 25cm (10in) of rain.
Haiti Total pop. 10,596,666; exposed pop. 9,830,946; 92.77% population exposure to high-wind zones.
On 7 September, Haiti reported that rainfall has begun and the rivers that flow into the country from the Dominican Republic are now overflowing. According to Haiti’s National Emergency Operations Centre, evacuations along the northern coast are under way as relief supplies are pre-positioned for deployment. The US National Hurricane Center is warning that the north of Haiti may expect 25cm (10in) of rain.

Bahamas

Total pop. 343,735; exposed pop. 20,015; 5.82% population exposure to high-wind zones.

As the southern islands of the Bahamas brace for Irma’s arrival during the evening of 7 September, the Government evacuated more than 1,000 people from Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Ragged Island to Nassau on New Providence island. Forecasts show storm surges that could lift sea-water levels in south-eastern and central Bahamas by 4.5 to 6m (15 to 20 ft) above normal. The National Emergency Operations Centre has been activated, and reconnaissance activities with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management System are being planned for 12 September, after Irma passes.

Turks and Caicos

Total pop. 45,020; exposed pop. 45,020; 100% population exposure to high-wind zones.

Authorities have issued a hurricane warning for the Turks and Caicos islands as they brace for Irma’s arrival during the evening of 7 September. The country’s placement directly in the storm’s path could result in devastation similar to Barbuda and St. Martin/St Maarten. Forecasts show storm surges that could lift sea-water levels in the Turks and Caicos Islands by 4.5 to 6m (15 to 20 ft) above normal. The National Emergency Operations Centre has been moved to an alternate site that has been activated.
Cuba Total pop. 11,266,280; exposed pop. 6,834,579; 60.66% population exposure to high-wind zones.
A Hurricane Watch is currently in place in Cuba. The Government has declared a state of alert in provinces expected to be most affected, including Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Granma, Guantánamo, Holguín, Las Tunas, Santiago de Cuba and Villa Clara.

[Population and exposure estimates from UNOSAT. Estimates from International Federation of the Red Cross available at https://goo.gl/mkF83A]

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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