Jamaica + 3 more

Caribbean: Hurricane Season 2008 Emergency Appeal No. MDR49003 Operations update no. 3

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GLIDE No. TC-2008-000143

Period covered by this Ops Update: 6 October 2008 to 18 November 2008.

Appeal target (current): CHF 2,010,991 (USD 1,828,173 or EUR 1,243,656)

Appeal coverage: 67%

Appeal history:

- This Emergency Appeal was initially launched on a preliminary basis on 9 September 2008 for CHF 1,802,093 (USD 1,638,300 or EUR 1,115,850) for six months to assist 25,000 beneficiaries.

- An allocation from the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) for CHF 25,000 (USD 23,809 or EUR 15,291) was made on 28 August 2008 to support the National Society of Jamaica to cover early preparation and relief activities costs. A second DREF allocation for CHF 100,000 (90,909 or EUR 61,920) was requested and approved on 2 September.

- A DREF allocation for CHF 25,000 (USD 23,809 or EUR 15,291) was granted on 1 September 2008 to support the Bahamas Red Cross Society. A second DREF allocation for CHF 170,000 (USD 154,545 or EUR 105,263) was requested and approved on 2 September.

- On 6 October budget was revised to CHF 2,010,991 (USD 1,828,173 or EUR 1,243,656) for 9 months to assist 20,000 beneficiaries.

Summary: On 28 August 2008, Hurricane Gustav lashed through Jamaica and Cayman Islands with strong winds and rain. Three days later, tropical storm Hanna swamped the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Island with heavy rain and gusts. The National Societies and the Overseas Branches of British Red Cross (BRCS) were beginning their damage and need assessments when Hurricane Ike passed near causing heavy rains delaying the relief operation and causing extensive damage to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the south east Bahamas. The objectives in this appeal have been established based on identified needs: relief items, provision of psychosocial support, safe water and rehabilitation of livelihoods. Previously, In operations update n=B0 2, the timeframe of the operation was extended to nine months to allow the implementation of recovery, disaster preparedness and capacity building activities. The recovery activities which included rehabilitation of livelihoods will not be undertaken if additional assistance is not received. In addition, necessary Capacity Building activities are at risk of being excluded due to low appeal coverage.

This operation will be completed by 9 June 2009; a final report will be made available by 9 September 2009 (three months after the end of the operation).

The situation

Tropical Storm Gustav impacted Jamaica on 28 and 29 August, 2008 bringing extensive rain and wind damage to infrastructure and personal effects. Reports from the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) reflected that a total of 72 communities were affected. Communities in the parishes of St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew, Portland, St. Thomas and St. Mary suffered from landslides, flooding and torrential winds. A total of 12 fatalities were confirmed as a result of Tropical Storm Gustav.

The Ministry of Agriculture reported damages to 70 percent of the banana crops in St. Mary, 80 percent in St. Thomas and 90 percent in Portland. Preliminary estimates reveal that the overall agricultural sector sustained damages totalling $1.7 billion Jamaican dollars.

Approximately 2,000 people sought refuge in the 100 emergency shelters that were opened island-wide. Reports from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security indicated that 463 houses were totally destroyed while another 2,065 sustained major damages. The Ministry of Housing, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security are coordinating efforts to relocate the families who lost their homes.

Jamaica is experiencing a harsh rainy season which has adversely affected the completion of livelihood assessments in some parishes.

The Bahamas Red Cross Society (BRCS) was responding to the damages caused by Hanna when Hurricane Ike interrupted relief activities on 7 September 2008. The BRCS was able to pre-position emergency relief items such as water, food parcels, cots, blankets and flashlights as requested to several islands including Mayaguana, Grand Bahama, New Providence, and Crooked Island. Ike caused most damage in the island of Inagua, while the southern islands such as Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked and Ragged Islands sustained lesser damages. There were no reports of fatalities or injuries. Main communication systems were interrupted impeding assessments and distribution of relief items such as food, water and roofing tarpaulins. Infrastructure including telephone, transportation, electricity and water systems also sustained damages. Coordination of the response, particularly of relief transport, was done with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Based on the detailed damage assessments and the 2007 census, it was estimated that approximately 500 to 700 families were affected.

On 1 September, hurricane Hanna hit the Turks and Caicos moving from a tropical storm to a category one hurricane. The weather system stayed over and around the Islands for three days causing some damage to housing and flooding. On 6 September, Hurricane Ike hit the Turks and Caicos as a category four hurricane causing extensive damage to housing and other structures as well as some flooding. Grand Turks was directly hit with an estimated 80 percent of housing damaged of which 20 percent was severely damaged. The official population figures for Turks and Caicos Islands are more than 33,000 people, with approximately 25,000 on Providenciales, more than 6,000 on Grand Turk, 1,600 on South Caicos and about 100 people on Salt Key. An estimated 6,950 people have been affected on Grand Turk, South Caicos and Salt Cay, and several thousand on Providenciales.

Blanket distributions and more targeted relief distributions have been completed in the most affected areas identified by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) on 9 and 10 September. The identified areas are: Grand Turk (West Bank, North Back Salina, South Back Salina and Overback), South Caicos, Salt Cays and Providenciales (Five Cays, Kew Town, Bight and Blue Hills). Infrastructure is currently being re-established in Grand Turk through the government, Bermuda Regiment and private companies.

Unsolicited donations from both within the island and externally continue to be given received and distributed. These include second-hand clothing, water, soft drinks, food and generators.