Hurricane Dean, the first hurricane of the 2007 Atlantic season, entered the eastern Caribbean on Friday, August 17, bringing torrential downpours and intense winds to the islands of St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, and Guadalupe.
Over the weekend, the steadily intensifying hurricane hit southern Haiti and the island of Jamaica, damaging rooftops and flooding streets throughout the poverty-stricken countries.
A state of emergency was issued in Jamaica after Hurricane Dean's category 4 winds pummeled the southern coast late Sunday, August 19, with winds up to 140 miles an hour.
Jamaican authorities estimate that Hurricane Dean has displaced 300,000 people, causing mudslides and blocking several major roads.
Hurricane Dean is expected to hit the southern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and the coastal country of Belize late Monday, August 20, or early morning Tuesday, August 21. The deadly hurricane could intensify to a category 5 level storm.
To date, nine people have been reported dead since Dean began its rampage across the Caribbean.
What ADRA is Doing:
ADRA offices throughout Central America and the Caribbean have been pre-positioning relief supplies and preparing for this year's hurricane season since before its official start date of June 1.
In Jamaica, the government has selected ADRA to be in charge of the registration of hurricane-affected families and to help coordinate the distribution of goods in the aftermath of Hurricane Dean.
ADRA Jamaica is responding to Hurricane Dean by distributing beddings, sponges, blankets, water, raincoats, water boots, flashlights, and food items.
In Mexico, ADRA has purchased food items for 800 families, or 4,000 individuals. This type of intervention is most needed after hurricanes, when many families want to stay to watch over their personal property rather than move to shelters.
ADRA's initial response to Hurricane Dean in Mexico will include a distribution of 400 food baskets in Quintana Roo, and an additional 400 food baskets in Campeche and Ciudad del Carmen.
On the island of Saint Lucia, ADRA is assessing the needs of survivors whose livelihoods will suffer dramatically from the devastation of the banana crops and other effects of Hurricane Dean.
As Hurricane Dean churns westward, ADRA teams are continuing to monitor the storm's progression and to prepare immediate responses to assist those affected by the disaster.
Updates will be released as more information is provided.
What You Can Do:
You can help ADRA respond to the needs of Hurricane Dean survivors, by giving to ADRA's Emergency Response Fund by telephone at 1.800.424.2372 or online at http://www.adra.org. As survivors recover from this tragedy, we request your assistance as we work to change the world, one life at a time.