Port-au Prince, the capital city of Haiti has been devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake which struck the island on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. Damage has been of catastrophic proportions with almost 80 percent of the structures in the capital destroyed. There has been significant loss of life and it is estimated that approximately three (3) million people (or one third of the population) has been affected.
Search and Rescue efforts are continuing but are reportedly hampered by inaccessibility to areas and lack of heavy duty equipment. Hospitals and health facilities have been severely affected and the health issues of those affected remain an immediate concern.
Jamaica has offered the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston as a staging area for the deployment of relief assistance to Haiti. The airport in Haiti is open for daytime operations and at this time entry is restricted to military and humanitarian flights. The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assumed responsibility for facilitating access by air. Entities proposing flights into Haiti are encouraged to make contact with the Director of Civil Aviation in Jamaica.
There has been damage to both sea ports in Haiti. Roads are reportedly extremely difficult to navigate.
REGIONAL RESPONSE ACTIONS:
The high-level meeting convened on January 14, 2010 by The Chairman of CARICOM, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica; and hosted by the Honourable Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica has identified the Health Sector as the agreed area of focus for the coordinated regional intervention.
CDEMA Participating States have been invited to identify areas of potential support based on the requirements of the health based intervention.
The Regional Technical Assessment team is undertaking final preparations for deployment to Haiti on Sunday, January 16, 2010. This team will harness information to inform the nature and scope of the region's Health Sector intervention.
The Government of Jamaica has agreed to receive earthquake victims in their hospitals which have been placed on alert.
The Secretariat of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States has been engaged to assist in the procurement of medical supplies for the coordinated intervention.
The Emergency Relief Grant Funding through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is being accessed by CDEMA on behalf of Haiti.
Options are being explored for the transportation of relief supplies and personnel.
CDEMA continues to communicate with the Department of Civil Protection in Haiti following the initiation of contact on January 14, 2010. HAM Radio communication although limited is being monitored with the support of the Barbados Amateur Radio Society.
Pledges continue to be received:
i. The Government of Grenada has pledged US $100,000.
ii. Regional air carrier LIAT has pledged one aircraft and pilots to support the regional response efforts.
iii. CARILEC the regional association of electric utilities has pledged support to assist with Haiti's electric utilities.
iv. LIME Jamaica intends to launch a "TEXT" appeal and all funds received will be made available to CDEMA for the regional response to Haiti.
v. The International Telecommunication Union has allocated over US$1 million. Equipment and personnel are being deployed to re-establish communication links. ITU will also be setting up a complete cellular system to enable wireless communications. This system is specially designed to assist in strengthening response and recovery mechanisms in a disaster zone.