Haiti + 6 more

Caribbean Hurricane Season OCHA Situation Report No. 5

Attachments

This situation report is based on information received from, the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETT) in the affected countries, the Regional Office in Panama and the National Hurricane Centre.

HIGHLIGHTS

- Hurricane "Gustav" claimed the lives of at least 94 as it made its way across the Caribbean. - "Gustav" significantly impacted two provinces in Cuba where there are needs in the electricity service sector and for roofing of houses.

- Tropical Storm "Hanna" is currently severely affecting Haiti. An UNDAC Team has been requested to respond to the emergency.

- Meanwhile, Tropical storms Ike and Josephine have formed in the Atlantic.

SITUATION

1. On August 25th, a tropical depression in the Caribbean strengthened into Tropical Storm "Gustav", and on August 26th rapidly strengthened into category 1 Hurricane. Hurricane "Gustav" made landfall in Haiti. On 30 August 2008, "Gustav" became a hurricane category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale and hit directly Cuba's Island of Youth, on towards Pinar del Rio Province. After exiting the Caribbean, Hurricane "Gustav" continued on a course through the Gulf of Mexico towards the coast of the United States (Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi). "Gustav" has affected Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Cuba and the United States and is now a tropical depression.

2. Meanwhile, tropical storm "Hanna", upgraded earlier to a category I hurricane, is now a tropical storm. "Hanna" continues to produce heavy rains over the southeastern Bahamas and Hispaniola. At 2.00 pm, the center of tropical storm Hanna was located near latitude 20.6 North/longitude 72.9 West or just Southeast of Great Inagua Island in the southeastern Bahamas and about 420 miles/680 km Southeast of Nassau. On the forecast track, "Hanna" will move over the southeastern Bahamas tonight and into the central Bahamas tomorrow. Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph/110 km per hour with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 24 hours but possibly on Wednesday and Thursday. Hanna is expected to produce rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches with isolated amounts of 12 inches over the southeastern Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and eastern Cuba. Rainfall totals of 6 to 10 inches with isolated maximum amounts of up to 20 inches are possible over Hispaniola.

3. On September 1, Ike became the ninth tropical storm of the season as it formed over the Tropical Atlantic.

At 11.00 am AST, the center of tropical storm Ike was located near latitude 18.9 North/longitude 45.0 West or about 1110 miles/1785 km East of the Leeward Islands. Ike is moving toward the west near 18 mph/30 km per hour and this general motion is expected to continue during the next two days.Gadual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Ike could become a hurricane on Wednesday. Meanwhile tropical storm Josephine has formed in the Esatern Atlantic and is moving South of the Cap Verde Islands.

HAITI

4. After being ravaged by "Gustav", Haiti is now affected by "Hanna" and a tropical storm warning is in effect for the northern coast of Haiti from, Le Mole St Nicholas eastward to the northern border with the Dominican Republic. Due to "Gustav", some 14,594 families have been affected, of which 6,801 remains in shelters. At least 11,458 houses were damaged and 3,136 others have been destroyed. The storm claimed the lives of 77 people, 8 others are missing and 36 people were injured.

5. Unforeseen heavy rains since 1 September afternoon have affected Gonaives in particular, but also Port-au- Prince and Port de Paix. MINUSTAH organized an aerial assessment of Gonaives and it was reported that rains have caused severe flooding for up to two metres. Some 5,000-6,000 people are in need of evacuation. According to some residents, floodwaters had reached the ceilings of some homes, forcing inhabitants to take shelter on the roofs. The Gonaives hospital is flooded. Some 4 rivers are reported to have high level of waters. Rains and winds, as well as fallen trees on the roads, continue to prevent access to those in need. To note, CARITAS stocks were totally destroyed as well as the IOM office. More than 3,000 people died in Gonaives, a city of some 300,000, when it was flooded by Tropical Storm Jeanne in September 2004.

6. In Les Cayes, heavy rains are reported and are worsening the situation already created by "Gustav". The hospital in Les Cayes is flooded as well as many homes. The population is requesting to be evacuated, but access to the affected communities is difficult. Cavaillon , Camp Perrin, Coteaux, the North, North East, North West are also reporting flooding as well as heavy rains.

7. The UN and the Government requested a United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination Team (UNDAC). One OCHA ROLAC member was deployed to Haiti on 2 September. A CERF request and a Flash appeal are being considered. Humanitarian actors have provided assistance to the people affected by the storm. The water and sanitation, food, health and logistics sectoral working groups were activated.

8. In the West and South West, assessments in the aftermath of Hurricane "Gustav" are still on going. IOM Haiti has provided essential non-food aid to vulnerable families of the West and South West departments. The aid consisted of 1,500 hygiene kits and 1,500 cotton sheets distributed in Petit Goâve, Grand Goâve and remote coastal areas west of Les Cayes. The distribution was undertaken in coordination with the local Haitian Civil Protection and partner NGOs. Over the weekend, Oxfam distributed more than 450 non-food item kits to families in Mirogâne, Petit Goâve and Grand Goâve, along with more than 850 5-gallon bottles of drinking water. In the southeast, Oxfam's Belle Anse-based team is working with the Local Disaster Risk Management Committee to assess the extent of the damage.

9. UNICEF is mobilizing support from its Regional Office and from its headquarters in New York. UNICEF and CARE both have pre-positioned stocks in Gonaives. IFRC has mobilized an Emergency Response Team for water and sanitation, telecommunications, logistics and health. PAHO has also medicine and medical kits available for 10,000 families while a six-member team is mobilized and will be sent from Panama if requested. WFP regional Office has fielded a delegate and is distributing 50 metric tons of food to assist 3,000 families. Overall, agencies stocks are low. MINUSTAH is planning to send a boat to Gonaives to access the area.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

10. Heavy rains due to "Hanna" were reported with no major consequences for the moment. A Green Alert was issued for the Northern area of the Republic. After the passage of "Gustav", the UNETT carried out a joint assessment mission to visit shelters and reported on shelter conditions and needs for improvement. The mission team included UNICEF, PAHO and UNDP. Food distribution has been provided to the provinces of Barahona, Baruco and Azua, assisting at least 5,000 people affected by the storm. These areas were also affected by Tropical Storm Noel in 2007. On September 1st, the COE (Emergency Operation Center) discontinued its operations for the displaced and are staying with friends and families.

CUBA

11. Regarded as the most severe hurricane that has struck Cuba in the past 50 years, "Gustav" strongly affected the Island of Youth and Pinar del Rio Province. Some 250,000 people in total were evacuated in Havana province, the Island of Youth, Southern Matanzas province, Pinar del Río province, and Havana capital City, either to shelters or to relatives in safer areas. Some 147 shelters were activated. There has been no official confirmation of casualties, but 8 were reported. Cuba is expecting also heavy rains from the passage of "Hanna".

12. According to the Vice Minister of the Ministry for Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation (MINVEC), the Isla de la Juventud is the most affected and suffered significant damage and needs in the various sectors of eclectic services, communications, education, hospitals and shelter. According to the Vice Minister, at least 90,000 people have been affected in the Isla de la Juventud. In Pinar del Rio, the centre of the province was the most affected and also the most populated. The Vice Minister estimates that approximately 400,000 people have been affected. Assistance would be needed for the provision of electricity services, principally in the Isla de la Juventud. While the electrical plant is working in Isla de la Juventud, means and materials to distribute the electricity are destroyed and cables and posts are needed. There is no need for technical experts as they are available in country and have been mobilized. In Pinar del Rio, there is a need for roofing of houses (also for the Isla de la Juventud), again mainly for materials to repair roofing such as tools and tiles. In order to have more flexibility, and while assessments are on going, a bank account to receive cash donations was set up:

Account Number: 033473
Banco Financiero Internacional
Account name: MINVEC huracanes restauración de daños.

13. The Resident Coordinator, in agreement with MINVEC, will call a meeting with donors and NGOs to share information on 4 September. There is no need for food assistance as national reserves are being used. OCHA ROLAC is deploying its regional Disaster Response Advisor to Cuba to help prepare a CERF application and an emergency cash grant. BCPR has offered technical support. A joint assessment could be conducted to Pinar del Rio with the UN and the Government.

JAMAICA

14. Some 12 deaths are confirmed due to "Gustav". A total of 72 communities have been affected, mainly by flooding. Reports from the Parish Disaster Offices indicate a total of 248 persons in shelters; however this number is diminishing. Early recovery concerns and needs exist, especially in view of the situation around rivers banks and damage on the infrastructure. An assessment was requested as well as disaster mitigation and risk reduction measures. OFDA has sent teams while waiting for further assessment information. OCHA has allocated a cash grant to Jamaica. BCPR is in contact with the RC office for early recovery assistance while the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) in Panama has deployed one delegate to Jamaica to support early relief activities. ISD is sending 6 tons of non-food assistance.

CAYMAN ISLANDS

15. There has been no casualty reported in the Cayman Islands. Only one shelter remains open, while water and electricity supplies have been restored and the airport reopened.

BAHAMAS AND TURKS AND CAICOS

16. Due to "Hanna", a hurricane warning remains in effect for the central Bahamas, the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Heavy rains have caused flooding in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. There are reports of 3 or 4 deaths in the most vulnerable areas. PAHO is sending a delegate from Barbados to support the response. However, as access is difficult due to flooded roads, assessments could not yet be carried out. IFRC has already approved CHF 25,000 from its DERF.

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.