Haiti

Haiti: Tropical Storm Laura - Situation Report No. 2, As of 23 August 2020, 17h00

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This report is produced by OCHA Haiti in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the situation on 23 August. The next report will be issued on or around 24 August.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Tropical Storm Laura passed Haiti on Sunday, 23 August, causing heavy rain, strong gusts of winds and dangerous sea conditions. The alert level was raised from ‘orange’ to ‘red’ on Sunday morning.

  • Preliminary information shows that the storm caused flooding in four departments. 35 people were evacuated to a total of 11 emergency shelters. A total of 9 fatalities were reported.

  • Further information gathering is planned for Monday, 24 August, under the leadership of the General Directorate for Civil Protection (DGPC) to further evaluate the impact of the storm.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Tropical Storm Laura reached Haiti on Sunday morning, 23 August, with a speed of 30 km/h, moving from the Centre department to the Artibonite and Nord-Ouest departments. On Sunday morning, the Haitian Meteorological Unit (UHM) raised the alert level from ‘orange’ to ‘red’, in order to restrict unnecessary movements and facilitate the response. Air and sea traffic have been temporarily suspended in the north of the country, including Cap-Haitian. The international airport in PAP was also temporarily closed on Sunday morning due to flooding.

Moderate to heavy rains, strong gusts of winds and dangerous sea conditions were observed in several departments, including the Sud-Est, Nippes, Ouest, Artibonite and Centre. While the storm has left Haiti at 11am, the rain continued to affect the country throughout the afternoon.

Reports indicate that the storm caused flooding in 15 communes across the Ouest (Port-au-Prince, Delmas, Carrefour, Pétionville, Cité Soleil, Léogâne, Ganthier, Fonds-Verrettes), Nord-Est (Terrier Rouge), Sud-Est (Jacmel, Cayes-Jacmel, Belle-Anse, Marigot, Anse-à-Pitre), and Centre (Boucan-Carré) departments. Numerous rivers were flooded across the country. Due to the threat from the flooded lake Péligre reservoir in the Centre department, the DGPC has preventively evacuated communities in the Centre and Artibonite departments along the banks of the Artibonite River.

Preliminary reports of the damage from the storm indicate that numerous houses were flooded, destroyed or damaged and a number of roads were blocked. The main access road to the town of Les Anglais (Sud department) was cut off by the flooded river. A total of 9 fatalities were reported in the Sud-Est and Ouest departments, and 2 people were reported missing in the Ouest department.

Telecommunication services were temporarily interrupted on Sunday morning in the Anse-à-Pitre commune in the Sud-Est department.

In terms of health impact, several hospitals were short-staffed due to the inaccessibility of roads, and the health centre in Anse-à-Pitre was reportedly flooded.

Further information gathering is planned for Monday, 24 August, to obtain more details about the impact of the storm from UN, NGO and governmental partners on the ground. OCHA will support the DGPC to coordinate potential evaluation missions to the most affected areas, if necessary, as well as a potential response.

HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

All Departmental Emergency Operation Centers (COUD) across the country were activated. The DGPC has opened a total of 11 emergency shelters in the Nord-Est, Sud-Est and Ouest departments, supported evacuations of 35 people and carried out emergency assistance operations in several departments. In the Ouest department, the DGPC deployed an emergency assistance team to the Pelerin 1 / Tete de l’eau market areas of Petionville, which have been particularly affected by flooding.

A meeting of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) was held on Sunday late afternoon to discuss the preliminary reports on the impact of the storm. It was decided to wait for further data on the impact before planning assessment missions under the leadership of the DGPC. The UNHAS helicopter remains available.

Contacts:

Christian Cricboom, Head of Office cricboom@un.org, Cell +509 3702 5180
Eva Soltész, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, soltesz@un.org, Cell +509 3702 5571
For more information, please visit www.unocha.org // www.reliefweb.int // https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/haiti To be added or deleted from this Sit Rep mailing list, please e-mail: ocha-haiti@un.org

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