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.
- Tropical storm "Gustav" has today become a category 2 hurricane and has claimed the lives of 94 people in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. It has earlier become a category 4 when hitting Cuba earlier.
- Jamaica reported 12 deaths, while Haiti now reports 76 deaths.
- Assessments are on going in the various affected countries to decide on assistance if needed.
- Meanwhile, Tropical storm "Hanna" has now been upgraded to a category 1 hurricane moving towards the Bahamas.
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. After weakening to a tropical storm, "Gustav" shifted course slightly on 28 August morning.
2. On 30 august 2008, "Gustav" became a hurricane category 4 on on the Saffir-Simpson scale and hit directly Cuba's Island of Youth, on towards Pinar del Rio Province, to the Carahuao area, in the Southern coast of Pinar del Rio, and crossed the province during four hours before entering the Gulf of Mexico hours later via the municipality of La Palama on the North coast.
3. At 1200 pm CDT on 1 Septemeber, the center of hurricane Gustav, now a category 2, was located near latitude 29.6 North/longitude 91.1 West or about 10 miles southeast of Morgan city Louisiana. This position is also about about 65 miles/105 km Southeast of Lafayette Louisiana and about 65 miles/105 km of New Orleans of Louisiana. "Gustav" is moving toward the northwest at near 15 mph/24 km/hr and this general motion is expected to continue with a decrease in the forward speed during the next two of days. On the forecast track, the center of Gustav will track along the south central Louisiana coast this afternoon, then move into western Louisiana tonight and eastern Texas on Tuesday 2 September. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 105 mph/ 170 km per hour with higher gusts. Additional weakening is forecast as the center of "Gustav" moves inland over Louisiana.
4. Meanwhile, tropical storm "Hanna" has now been upgraded to a category 1 hurricane. At 1.30 pm AST, the center of hurricane "Hanna" was located near latitude 22.4 North and longitude 72.6 West or very near Mayaguana Island in the Southeastern Bahamas. "Hanna" is moving toward the west-southwest near 5 mph/7 km/hr. A slow motion toward the West-southwest or Southwest is expected today followed by a turn toward the West and Northwest on Tuesday. On its track, "Hanna" will be moving over the Southeastern and central Bahamas during the next two days. The government of the Bahamas has issued a hurricane warning for the central Bahamas, the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands.
The most affected departments are the South-East, South, Nippes, West, Grand-Anse, Artibonite and Centre. The number of affected families rose to 4,875. The number of deaths is now at 76, with 9 disappeared and 35 injured. More than 2,100 houses were destroyed and 8,150 were damaged. According to the Direction de la Protection Civile, there are currently some 7,232 people in temporary shelters. However, local authorities in Grande Anse, Nippes and West have requested technical assistance to carry out further rapid assessments as well as assistance in running the temporary shelters. A significant number of schools are being used as temporary shelters. With schools scheduled to start again in the beginning of September, this will result in a significant logistical challenge. Preliminary assessments by the FAO indicate that the damages to the agricultural sector are significant but rapid assessment missions are still ongoing, notably with NGOs. Access remains difficult. In Marigot, la Valee and Bainet, banana plantations are badly damaged. In Fesles and Pavee a Marigot, agricultural fields are flooded. More than 2,000 livestock have drowned and more than 10 km of irrigation systems and drainage canals require rehabilitation. In Grand-Anse, preliminary assessments indicate that banana plantations are also the most affected. In Nippes, the costal areas was the hardest hit. In the South, despite limited access, preliminary information indicate that cassava, beans, peanuts and banana plantations were damaged.
6. In the Dominican Republic, the storm left 8 people dead following a mudslide that buried a home in Santo Domingo. Two persons were injured. Authorities said that some 6,255 persons were evacuated and more than 1,239 homes were damaged with 12 destroyed. Already some people are returning to their homes from the 8 activated shelters, with only 477 remaining in shelters. Some communities are still isolated.
7. Regarded as the most severe hurricane that has struck Cuba in the past 50 years, "Gustav" hit the Island of Youth with strong winds. It further marched on towards Pinar del Rio Province, entering the Cajio (the area between San Cristobal and Los Palacios) with enraged winds and towering waves of 2-5 metres high, which penetrated as far as 2 to 7 kilometers inland. "Gustav" then moved to the Carahuao area, in the Southern coast of Pinar del Rio, and crossed the province during four hours before entering the Gulf of Mexico hours later via the municipality of La Palama on the north coast. The strongest winds felt in Havana were between 120-130 km/h. In Los Palacios town, the local weather office registered a squall of 340 kilometers/per hour, never before registered in the country.
8. 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. Plantations and health facilities were protected. An advanced distribution of basic food provided through the ration system was undertaken in all the western provinces. The Ministry of Public Health had also dispatched medical surgical teams to areas vulnerable to loss of communications. In all of the western provinces including Havana, the beginning of the school year, foreseen for September 1, has been postponed.
9. There has been no official confirmation of casualties. The two most affected territories by "Gustav" are the province of Pinar del Rio and the Special Municipality of the Island of Youth. According to local press sources, the main damages are concentrated in the agriculture sector, in the electricity and communication systems as well as in economic and social installations. Very serious damages were caused in Pinar del Rio and are now being assessed by the authorities. A 500-bed hospital was destroyed and the Government deployed an emergency hospital. The main damages are concentrated in the western part of the province, in Bahia Honda, Minas de Matahambre,
Consolación del Sur, San Cristobal, Los Palacios and Candelaria municipalities. The Paso Real de San Diego town, near Los Palacios, was fully devastated with partial or total destruction of numerous homes, social infrastructure as well as electricity and telephone services. In the Island of Youth, low-lying areas are now flooded and damages are estimated to be severe and numerous. Some of the Island's roads - including those at Nueva Gerona, the capital city- have been washed away or are clogged with trees and power lines. The main telecommunications towers were toppled by the hurricane. House roofs, doors, windows and water tanks were blown away while other homes were totally destroyed. Heavy damages in the important fishing commerce and food industries have been sustained by industrial and public service institutions. Some warehouses collapsed and are completely destroyed. Tobacco curing installations were destroyed and some damages were reported in poultry farms, especially in San Cristobal municipality.
10. The Meteorological Service has discontinued the Tropical Storm Warning. Some 12 deaths are confirmed. A total of seventy two (72) communities have been affected, mainly by flooding. Reports from the Parish Disaster Offices indicate that there are 39 shelters opened, housing a total of 777 persons, however the number of people are diminishing. Two health facilities are awaiting the restoration of electricity. All health systems are functioning.
11. Damage to the agriculture, mainly to banana and plantain plantations, was sustained mainly in the eastern parishes of Portland, St. Thomas and St Mary. Initial estimates suggest that banana cultivation in Portland suffered were damaged up to 90%, up to 70% in St. Mary and 80% in St. Thomas. In Portland, damage was concentrated in the areas of the Rio Grande and Buff Bay Valleys, in the eastern sections of St Thomas, including Bath Hordely, Golden Grove and Agualta Vale, Robins Bay, Pembroke Hall, Russell Hall, Gayle and Woodside in St Mary. St Andrew, St Catherine and, to a lesser extent, Clarendon, Westmoreland, Manchester and St.Elizabeth sustained damage to greenhouses, vegetables and yam. Preliminary estimates reveal that the damages in the agricultural sector amounts to1.7 Billion Jamaican Dollars. Preliminary estimates suggest that damage to the infrastructure could be as high as 3 billion Jamaican dollars.Some151 roads are blocked by debris/ breakaways; some 40 roads are flooded while the Georgia Bridge in St Mary and the Bog Gorge remains impassable.
12. 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.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.