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Caribbean: Hurricanes Dennis & Emily Appeal No. 05EA14 Operations Update No. 3 - Focus on Haiti and Jamaica

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Situation Report
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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.

In Brief

Period covered: 26 July to 3 August 2005; Appeal coverage: 70.22%; (the contributions list is being updated and will be attached to the next operations update).

Appeal history:

- Launched on 15 July 2005 for CHF 758,000 (USD 587,505 or EUR 486,390) for 3 months to assist 29,000 beneficia ries (5,800 beneficiary familie s).

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 250,000

- The total funding sought under this appeal has been increased to CHF 852,612

Outstanding Needs: CHF 253,932

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Caribbean Annual Appeal 05AA041; Guyana: Floods Emergency Appeal 05EA001

Operational Summary: Relief distributions are underway in Haiti, in Saint Marc and Petit and Grand Goâves. Families hit by Hurricane Dennis in Petit and Grand Goâves have received allocated relief items, including 300 hygiene kits, blankets, body and laundry soap. The remaining items will be distributed by the Haitian National Red Cross Society (HNRCS) to Côtes-de-Fer, Bainet and Roseau in the coming days . In addition, 800 kitchen kits, 800 blankets, 2,400 boxes of laundry soap and 2,400 bars of toilet soap have been distributed to 800 beneficiary families in Saint Marc in Bas Artibonite . A further 200 families in Tiburon (50) and Les Anglais (150) will bene fit from the distribution of relief items. In Jamaica, the National Society's focus has been on providing psychosocial support, with special attention being given to those that had occupied and continue to occupy temporary shelters . During the reporting period, the Jamaica Red Cross (JRC) has also been working with local support towards developing solutions for accommodation for individuals and families who lost or suffered significant damage to their homes as a result of the Hurricanes. In addition, the Jamaica Red Cross' Disas ter Mental Health Unit has had success in informing the public about the service it provides and how to access it, through an island-wide media campaign.

The revised budget for the operation has been finalized and increased to CHF 852,612. This is particularly a result of an increase in costs for shipment of goods to Grenada, Haiti and Jamaica, since items were airlifted given the urgent needs. Following the budget revision, the appeal now has a coverage of 70.22%; however, the balance of funding is essential to ensure that the operation may be implemented in its entirety to assist vulnerable beneficiaries, many of whom were struggling to recover from Hurricane Ivan when Hurricanes Dennis and Emily hit.

Further details on the progress of the operation in Grenada are awaited for publication in the next operations update.

Background

Although it is still early in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from 1 June to 30 November, the Caribbean region has already been affected by two major hurricanes. The first hurricane of the season was Dennis, which caused at least 30 deaths in the Caribbean before weakening to a tropical storm over the southern United States. The storm's rain battered the southern coast of Haiti, causing rivers to overflow and roads to be flooded. Coastal villages were evacuated and approximately 654 people sought refuge in temporary shelters, particularly in the regions of Les Cayes, Port-Salut, and Grand Anse. According to data from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/UNDP, 56 people died, 24 people disappeared, 36 people were injured and 2,370 people were affected. A total of 929 houses were totally destroyed and 3,058 houses were damaged. The hospital in Les Cayes was flooded but continued to treat patients throughout and after the passage of the storm. One of the main bridges in Grand Goâves, in the southern part of the country, collapsed, completely blocking access. An assessment undertaken by the Civil Protection with the participation of the Red Cross branches in the affected areas has indicated that 1,500 families became homeless as a result of the flooding in Grand Anse, of whom 675 are in urgent need of assistance. The Haitian government allocated five million gourdes (USD 123,653) towards the relief effort.

Hurricane Dennis struck Jamaica on Thursday, 7 July, as it strengthened to a category three hurricane. Although wind damage was not intense, the system brought substantial flooding causing severe mudslides. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) confirmed that approximately 8,000 persons were affected in Jamaica. Persons were moved to shelters, mostly in the north eastern area of the country. The parishes of Saint Thomas, Saint Catherine, Portland, Saint Mary and Kingston and Saint Andrew were the areas that sustained the greatest impact.

Hurricane Dennis, at that time a category four hurricane, pounded Cuba for ten hours on Friday, 8 July, before heading into the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Dennis left ten people dead across the country and destroyed thousands of houses in the provinces of Habana, Camaguey, Ciego de Ávila, Las Tunas, Santiago de Cuba, Matanzas, Sancti Espíritus and Guatanamo. More than 1,400,000 people were evacuated, including tourists, 196,000 of which were moved to emergency shelters. Once the hurricane had passed over Cuba, national authorities, together with the Civil Defence and the Cuban Red Cross began conducting damage and needs assessments. The Cuban Civil Defence Agency has estimated that some eight million people were affected by the hurricane and approximately 40,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. The Cuban Red Cross has officially confirmed that the National Society does not require international assistance from the Federation to meet the needs of those affected by Hurricane Dennis.

Hurricane Emily, the second major hurricane of the season, first began to form on 12 July in the eastern Caribbean Sea and moved towards the Windward Islands. Of the Windward Islands, Grenada was the most seriously affected by Hurricane Emily, which passed over the island early Thursday morning, 14 July, causing significant damage to buildings and crops. One death was reported in Grenada, as a result of the storm. The parishes of St. Patrick and St. Andrew were most affected as well as the dependencies of Carriacou and Petit Martinique. The National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) reports that 2,641 roofs have been damaged, of which the majority are in the parishes of St. Andrew and St. Patrick, and 167 families are homeless. There is a need for plastic sheeting, not only for the roofs damaged by Emily, but also for the many families affected by Ivan. Some families that suffered roof damage or loss by Ivan were still using plastic sheeting when Emily hit, and therefore have lost this protection. Thirty Red Cross volunteers and staff members were dispatched to assess the most vulnerable parishes. The Grenada Red Cross Society's focus will be on distributing materials and on providing psychosocial support, for which experts are already available as a result of training received in response to Hurricane Ivan. A Federation disaster management delegate was deployed to Grenada on Saturday, 16 July to support assessment and response activities.

In the other Windward Island countries affected by Hurricane Emily, there are minimal needs and these are being addressed by the respective governments and Red Cross Societies. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, initial damage and needs assessment indicated that 11 houses lost their roofs: seven on the main island of St. Vincent, one in Cannau and three in Union. In total, 530 people were evacuated to 31 shelters in the country. A Federation disaster management delegate was pre-deployed to Saint Vincent on Wednesday, 13 July, to support assessment and response activities. In Trinidad and Tobago, a rapid nationwide assessment was conducted on 14 July. There were no casualties as a result of Hurricane Emily. In Tobago, two houses were destroyed and thirty suffered roof loss. In Trinidad, six houses suffered partial roof loss, and some 200 to 300 houses suffered flood damage. Several roads were affected by localized flooding and several landslides were reported in Trinidad and North Tobago.

No needs were reported by the Netherlands Antilles of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.

Although Hurricane Emily, then a category four status, only caused tropical storm conditions in Jamaica, some of the areas most affected by Emily were also affected by Hurricane Dennis. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the fact that the two hurricanes hit within a period of nine days complicated the assessment process. Hurricane Emily caused flooding in 65 communities in 8 parishes across the island, with the main areas of impact being Manchester and St. Elizabeth. In communities such as Riverhead in Saint Thomas and Somerset in Saint Andrew, there were incidences of landslides and some homes were totally destroyed. The aerial reconnaissance conducted by the Rapid Damage Assessment Team confirmed that these are the areas with the most damage. Approximately 3,594 persons occupied 108 shelters at the height of the storm. Throughout the storm and in its aftermath, the Jamaica Red Cross remained in communication with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), while the Red Cross branches maintained the parish-level communication with the Parish Disaster Committees.

The Cayman Islands experienced tropical storm conditions as a result of Hurricane Emily, which passed to the south of the islands throughout the night of 16-17 July. Telephone and electricity services were not affected. The Cayman Islands Overseas Branch of the British Red Cross briefed its volunteers and distributed emergency supply kits prior to Emily's arrival. Approximately 700 people stayed in temporary shelters on Saturday night, 60 of whom were in Red Cross shelters. Red Cross First Aid volunteers were assigned to each shelter. Shelters began closing on Sunday, 17 July, as people returned to their homes. Following Emily's passage, the Cayman Islands Overseas Branch deployed assessment teams; there has been no major damage reported.

Haiti experienced heavy rains with the passage of Emily, resulting in extensive flooding in the coastal city of Saint Marc in Bas Artibonite and surrounding areas. A representative of the Haïtian National Red Cross Society (HNRCS) and the Federation, together with the French Red Cross, conducted a damage and needs assessment of the affecte d area on Sunday, 17 July. The assessments indicated that five people died (four of whom are infants), one person went missing, and thirty children were injured. Further information provided by the United Nations indicated that in Les Cayes, in the south of the country, Emily resulted in one death and a total of 37 houses were destroyed, 48 were severely damaged and 65 slightly damaged.

On Monday, 18 July, Emily, then a category four storm, battered the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico with winds of 135km/h (84mph). In anticipation of the storm, approximately 60,000 tourists were evacuated from the tourist areas on the peninsula, such as Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel; this included 30,000 people who entered temporary shelters in Cancun. The Mexican Red Cross (MRC) had begun to preposition materials, volunteers and support equipment in the state of Quintana Roo on Saturday, 16 July; including 38 tons of material, 6 transportation units, a communications unit, and 20 members of the National Rapid Intervention Unit. Furthermore, the MRC deployed its National Disaster Operations Coordinator to coordinate preparedness and response activities. After crossing the Gulf of Mexico, Emily re-entered Mexico on Wednesday morning, 20 July, in the state of Tamaulipas, 50km (30m) south of the Texas border. The storm, then with winds of 200km/h (125mph), brought down trees and power lines. No casualties were reported. Prior to Emily's arrival, the authorities had carried out preventative evacuations, and the country's Disaster Fund and Plan was activated. MRC national headquarters supported the branches' actions, including the distribution of materials that had been pre-positioned in both affected areas. The MRC Merida branch was given the responsibility of coordinating damage assessment for the state. The Mexican Red Cross has confirmed that the National Society does not require international assistance from the Federation to meet the needs of those affected by Hurricane Emily.

Operational developments

Hurricanes Dennis and Emily, arriving early in the hurricane season, have tested the preparedness of the National Societies. In particular, in the cases of Grenada and Jamaica, lessons learned from Hurricane Ivan have been integrated into preparedness and response measures, resulting in efficient assistance to those in need.

The Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) sent two airlifts of relief materials to Grenada, the first of which arrived on Saturday, 16 July, and the second on Monday, 18 July. The first contained 950 hygiene kits, 1,705 pieces of plastic sheeting, 950 jerry cans (10 litres) 50 first aid kits, 100 raincoats (for volunteers) and 100 pairs of rubber boots (for volunteers). The second airlift contained 1,000 hygiene kits, 2,590 pieces of plastic sheeting and 1,000 jerry cans (10 litres).

In anticipation of the passage of Hurricane Emily, PADRU pre-deployed relief materials by airlift to Jamaica, which arrived on 10 July. The airlift contained 750 hygiene kits, 664 kitchen sets, 750 plastic buckets, 1,500 plastic sheets, and 25 family tents.

A relief airlift reached Haiti on 21 July. The airlift contained 2,000 blankets, 1,000 hygiene kits, 1,000 kitchen sets, 4,995 pieces of laundry soap and 5,000 pieces of bathing soap. A disaster management delegate was deployed to Haiti on 22 July to support the Haitian National Red Cross Society and the Federation Delegation in the country.

The circumstances of persons in Jamaica affected by Hurricanes Dennis and Emily are steadily improving, and damages sustained to infrastructure continue to be attended to by the relevant authorities. No major health risks or outbreaks have been reported. One family of eleven people remain in a temporary shelter in the parish of Saint Thomas. A JRC National Intervention Team member has reported that due to the flooding caused by Hurricane Emily, the Martha Brae community in Trelawny has a problem with its sewage system. The authorities have already been advised and are seeking to rectify the situation. The JRC is assisting by providing hygiene kits, bleach and jerry cans as well as mattresses to the families affected.

All shelters have been closed with the exception of one in Saint Thomas where a family of eleven is accommodated, since their house was completely destroyed by the storm. Efforts are being made to provide suitable housing for this family as soon as possible. The shelter in which the family resides is a primary school, which will need to be vacated by the commencement of the school term in September. Jamaica Red Cross will assist by facilitating the construction of a housing unit in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Grenada: Terry Charles, Director General of Grenada Red Cross Society; email crercs@caribsurf.com, phone (1 473) 440-1483, fax (1 473) 440-1829

In Haiti: Dr. Michaèle Amédée Gédéon, President, Haitian National Red Cross Society; email croroha@haitiworld.com, phone (509) 510-9813, fax (509) 223-1054

In Haiti: Athanase Ntampuhwe, Acting Head of Haiti Country Delegation, Port-au-Prince; email ifrcht03@ifrc.org, phone (509) 510-2629, fax (509) 221-2838

In Jamaica: Yvonne Clarke, Director General, Jamaica Red Cross; email yvonneclarke@jamaicaredcross.org, phone (1876) 984-7860, fax (1 876) 984-8272

In Trinidad and Tobago: Julia Brothwell, Sub Regional Office Coordinator, Port of Spain; email ifrctt06@ifrc.org, phone (1 868) 627-2665, fax (1 868) 627-9627

In Panama: Xavier Castellanos, Acting Head of Regional Delegation, Panama City; email ifrcpa90@ifrc.org, phone (507); 317-1300, fax (507) 317-1304

In Panama: Nathan Cooper, Disaster Management Delegate, Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Panama City; email ifrcpa17@ifrc.org, phone (507) 316-1001, fax (507) 316-1082

In Geneva: Luis Luna, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email luis.luna@ifrc.org, phone (41 22) 730-4274, fax (41 22) 733-0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org

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