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Caribbean: Hurricanes Dennis & Emily Appeal No. 05EA14 Operations Update No. 2

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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

Appeal No. 05EA014; Operations Update no. 02; Period covered: 19 to 22 July, 2005; Appeal coverage: 77 %; (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 beneficiaries (5,800 beneficiary familie s).

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

THE PLANS OF ACTION AND BUDGET UNDER THIS APPEAL HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED IN RESPONSE TO DETAILED NEEDS ASSESSMENTS IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANES DENNIS AND EMILY IN THE CARIBBEAN.

THE ADJUSTED BUDGET FOR THE HURRICANES OPERATION IS BEING FINALIZED.

In accordance with the Federation's flexible strategy and approach to this operation, donors are encouraged to provide support, with minimum earmarking.

Outstanding needs: CHF 174,340

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

Operational Summary: The plans of action to provide an effective response to those affected by Hurricanes Dennis and Emily have been reviewed in order to ensure that maximum assistance to beneficiaries is provided. In Haiti, the plan of action now includes distribution of relief to beneficiary families in Tiburon and Les Anglais on the south coast, severely hit by Hurricane Emily. The Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) has coordinated the mobilization of relief items which have been air-lifted to Haiti, Grenada and Jamaica: distributions are progressing well in Grenada and Jamaica and will begin today, 25 July, in Haiti. In particular, the provision of plastic sheeting is helping people return home from shelters and to protect their belongings. Psychosocial support activities have begun in Jamaica and discussions have taken place in Grenada with the Ministry of Social Services to define the provision of assistance in this area. The appeal now has a coverage of 77%, 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.

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. Residents of low lying areas as well as coastal towns -- where a large part of the population lives -- were advised to seek higher ground. 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 St. Thomas, St. Mary and Portland appear to be the areas that sustained the greatest impact, though effects of Dennis were felt in other parishes across the island.

Hurricane Dennis, at that time a category four hurricane, pounded Cuba for ten hours on Friday, 8 July, before heading back into the Gulf of Mexico and moving towards the United States. 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. In total, 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. While evaluation teams are still collecting data from throughout the country, the Cuban Civil Defence Agency is currently estimating that some eight million people were affected by the hurric ane and some 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 is land 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. Electricity has now been restored to the majority of the island, however, Carriacou and Petit Martinique are still without power; water distribution is now improving in Saint Patrick. Three shelters remain open and the Grenada Red Cross Society (GRCS) is providing drinking water to the occupants. Some of the shelter occupants have been destitute since Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) also 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 arrived in Grenada on Saturday, 16 July, to support assessment and response activities and has now been deployed to Haiti.

In the other Windward Island countries affected by Hurricane Emily, there appear to be at this time only minimal needs and these are being addressed by their 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, but the water has now subsided. Several landslides were reported in Trinidad and North Tobago.

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

Although Hurricane Emily had strengthened to category four status as it approached Jamaica, the storm passed far enough from the island to only cause tropical storm conditions. It has been reported that this hurricane had a lesser impact on the country than its predecessor, Dennis. It has been confirmed that the passage of Hurricane Emily caused flooding in 65 communities in 8 parishes across the island, with the main areas of impact being Manchester and St. Elizabeth. 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, however, the majority of these shelters are now closed.

Throughout the storm and in its aftermath, the Jamaica Red Cross (JRC) 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 Red Cross (CIRC) 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 CRIC has begun to deploy damage 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 affected area on Sunday, 17 July. The assessments indicated that five people are dead (four of whom are infants), one person is missing, and thirty children are injured. Further information provided by the United Nations indicates 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 have been 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 has organized 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. Following this, an ocean freight shipment of relief supplies was sent to Jamaica and arrived on Monday, 18 July. This shipment contained 750 blankets, 86 kitchen sets and 6,077 sleeping mats.

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 has been deployed to Haiti to support the Haitian National Red Cross Society and the Federation Delegation, and reached Port-au-Prince on 22 July.

In Jamaica, though the areas mostly affected by Emily are in the south of the island, some families in areas of Saint Thomas, Saint Andrew and Saint Catherine were still trying to recover from Hurricane Dennis when Hurricane Emily hit. This is the case in communities such as Riverhead in Saint Thomas and Somerset in Saint Andrew where there were incidences of landslides and homes which were totally destroyed. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the fact that the two hurricanes hit within a period of nine days has complicated the assessment process.

Red Cross action - objectives, progress, impact

Grenada

Emergency relief (food and non-food):

Objective 1: 3,000 vulnerable families will have benefited from the provision of non-food items to assist them in recovering from the effects of the hurricane. Of these families, 300 of the most vulnerable will be assisted through the provision of food items.

Progress/Achievements:

The distribution of relief materials in Grenada is progressing well. To date, the GRCS has distrib uted 2,202 hygiene kits, and 114 blankets. As well, 14 garbage bags have been distributed to families at the shelter in St. Andrew, to help facilitate their clean up after the storm. Distributions have taken place, as follows:

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 (1473) 440-1483, fax (1 473) 440-1829

- In Haiti: Dr. Michaèle Amédée Gédéon, President, Haitian National Red Cross Society; email =B7 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, =B7 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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