Hurricane Dean OCHA Situation Report No. 4

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 20 Aug 2007


This situation report is based on information from hurricane watch centres, UN Agencies, Regional OCHA Office in Panama and CDERA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency)

HIGHLIGHTS

Hurricane Dean has been upgraded to a category 5 as it is expected to make landfall on the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico, very early Tuesday morning.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the east coast of Central America from the border of Guatemala and Belize.

Already 10 deaths, 3 missing, thousands of evacuees and serious economical damage due to Hurricane Dean's passage in the Caribbean.

SITUATION

1. Hurricane Dean entered the eastern Caribbean on Friday August 17, causing damage to rooftops and flooding streets in St. Lucia, Dominica, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Martinique. Hurricane Dean reached the southern coast of Jamaica claiming already 11 deaths and causing extensive economic damage (see OCHA Situation Report 2 and 3).

FORECAST

2. Dean has been upgraded to a category five hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The Government of Belize has issued a Tropical Storm Watch Dangriega northward to the border of Mexico. In his track, the center of the hurricane is expected to make landfall on the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico, very early Tuesday morning. However, conditions are already beginning to deteriorate along the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula with maximum sustained winds increasing to 250 km/hr with higher gusts

JAMAICA

3. The government of Jamaica has discontinued the Tropical Storm Warning. Hurricane Dean claimed the life of two people in Clarendon and St. Thomas. A total of 268 shelters are now opened across the island, housing currently some 6,445 persons.

4. In St. Thomas, St James (coral garden), Kingston,St. Andrew (notably in Chambers Lane Area of Liguanea), Clarenton (Denbigh ravine), extensive damage has been reported, mostly wind damage to roofs, flooding, collapsed structures, impassible roadways and downed power lines. Several roads in Portland (Port antonio, Manchioneal, Mount James and Mount Airy in Buff Bay) are blocked as well as in Saint Mary (Broadgate) due to fallen trees.

5. In St. Catherine, storm surges have been reported along the Port Henderson road in Portmore, rendering the roadway impassable along with roof damage in the communities of Naggo Head and Newland. The Newland Road is also impassable due to a fallen utility pole. Additionally, sections of the roadway have been eroded in Hellshire due to storm surges. Rising water levels have been reported in Old Harbour forcing the evacuation of several persons.

6. Between 32,000 and 150,000 people in 230 vulnerable communities could be affected according to UNICEF.

7. Cellular telephone lines are down in sections of Portland, St. Mary, and Clarendon. There is no communication link with St. Thomas. Efforts are underway to re-establish the telecommunication links with the affected parishes.

8. Over 125,000 persons are without power supply. In general, in the East and South, there has been severe damage to infrastructure, with widespread but less severe damage, to power distribution infrastructure in the West and North. Some 75% check of Power Plants and 55% check of substations are completed, revealing no significant damage to generating infrastructure. Further tests are currently being carried out to assess the timeline for restoration of service.

9. There have been reports of damage to the water supply system. The National Water Commission has begun assessments of water systems that are currently out of operation.

10. The Ministry of Health has advised that all public hospitals in the northeast region are now offering full services in St Ann's Bay, Port Antonio, Port Maria Annotto Bay, and the Noel Holmes Hospital in Hanover. Hospitals in the rest of the island are still currently only offering inpatient and emergency services.

11. The Norman Manley Airport is now open for relief flights and full operations are expected to resume on 21 August. The Donald Sangster International Airport has been reopened since 12 p.m. today.

Response

12. Jamaica's Prime Minister has declared the state of emergency for one month, but can it be lifted any time during this period.

13. The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) continues to be activated. A Resource and Needs list is currently being compiled and periodic parish updates are issued to monitor the shelter status.

Security and welfare functional groups have developed plans of action for response. A Rapid Damage Assessment Team was dispatched to conduct an aerial reconnaissance of damage across the Island. More deployment of damage assessment teams is planned.

14. The National Works Agency is clearing roadways. Water will also be restored on a priority basis. The National Water Commission is providing water to shelters, health facilities and hospitals. Arrangements for relief distribution to affected communities are in place in St. Thomas and for all shelters.

15. The Ministry of Health, through its Emergency Operations Centre, continues to monitor the health situation across the island.

16. The U.S. has made available USD100,000 in initial funds for Jamaica and U.S. Southern Command has moved ships into the area if needed for assistance.

17. Government, UN agencies and others will start assessments tomorrow, especially in the South, and results will be available on Thursday evening.

18. In cooperation with the government, UN partners and non-governmental organizations, UNICEF is working to secure hygiene items, bedding, food, water containers, water-purification tablets, roofing materials and medical supplies to meet the anticipated needs of hurricane victims. Supplies will be arriving in the country right after the storm hits. Four emergency health kits and 1,000 collapsible water containers were among the most critical items to be flown in. UNICEF is preparing to address issues of protection, psychological support and education for children affected by the hurricane.

19. Food For The Poor has put its emergency preparedness operations into high alert in Jamaica to immediately assess damage and report on the most urgent needs, working closely with the Jamaican government. FFP is delivering hurricane supplies to all shelters and places that may be used as distribution points.

HAITI

21. From August18 to 19, hurricane Dean passed on Haiti. Rains, strong winds, and high waves caused moderate damages on agriculture plantations, houses and infrastructures, mainly in the South and Southeast areas of Haiti.

22. Three people were killed and 10 were injured. Some homes were destroyed and several were damaged by winds, especially on the South /South- East. The number of people in shelter have raised to 7,581 and three are missing.

23. The Government of Haiti has mobilized the Departmental Committees on Risk and Disaster Management in all departments and activated the Central Emergency Operations Centre. Temporary shelters were set-up in the Southeast, Nippes, Centre and Artibonite. Teams were deployed to conduct maintenance works on cut off roads.

24. Coordination meeting are held at the field level with humanitarian partners. WFP, FAO,UNICEF, WHO/PAHO have propositioned various stocks and are closely coordinating with partners and the Government and are participating in assessments.

25. The Pan-American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) is complementing the Haitian Red Cross stocks as well as the "Plate-Forme d' Intervention Régionale Amériques Caraïbes" (PIRAC), the French Red Cross Response Unit. All national Red Cross societies present in Haiti will participate in joint assessment missions.

26. NGOs such as MSF, Terre des Hommes, Caritas, CARE, MDM-F, PSF-CI, World Vision and Christian Aid have pre-positioned various items, and their teams are actively supporting the activities of the Department Committees on Risk and Disaster management providing medical assistance, transport of injured people, medical care, supporting food and water distributions and collaborating on joint assessments.

26. MINUSTAH is facilitating transport for assessment missions, both by road and by air, participating in these field assessment missions and supporting urgent repair works and distributing of water and food rations.

27. Donors such as USAID, the Canadian Cooperation, DFID and the IADB informed on their willingness to fund emergency projects. Information received from The National System of Management of Risks and Disasters, National Emergency Operations Centre).

Department
Deaths
Injured
Families Affected
Persons sheltered
Houses
Destroyed
Damaged
South

7
306
2468
188
37
South-East


138
880
99
134
Grand'Anse
1
6
20
1802
22
31
Nippes


11
420
11

West
2
2
66
1961
16
50
Artibonite






Centre






North






North-East

1
2
50

2
North-West




2

TOTAL
3
16
543
7581
338
254
(Information received from The National System of Management of Risks and Disasters, National Emergency Operations Centre).

CAYMAN ISLANDS

All warnings for the Cayman Islands are discontinued.

PREPAREDNESS

BELIZE

28. A hurricane warning remains in effect for the entire coastline of Belize.

29 Two UNDAC members have arrived in Belize City. The UNDAC Team has met with UN country team and traveled to the capital Belmopan by road to make contact with the Local Emergency Management Authority (LEMA) and other government officials.

30. The Prime Minister announced that the third phase of the national hurricane plan was in effect. An evacuation has been ordered for the northern Cays and the district of Corozal. Residents of Belize City are being advised to relocate if possible and the government is arranging transport. Shelters are being set up in Belize City and Belmopan. The UN office in Belize City is moving inland to Belmopan.

31. The LEMA reports that government supplies are being cached in Orange Walk to support Corozal post-storm. Electricity in Belize City may be cut.

32. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) held meetings to discuss the threat of Hurricane Dean. Representatives of UNDP, PAHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the Red Cross held a joint regional call with the UN Resident Coordinator in El Salvador and OCHA Regional Office in Panama to discuss preparedness strategy.

33. It was announced earlier that Cayes will be evacuated in anticipation of the worst-case scenario of the hurricane moving south. The government has taken all measures to mobilise its resources to preposition food and other supplies. All NEMO Committees are activated.

34. Essential equipment of PAHO and the Red Cross will be stored in the elevated UNICEF building in the event of tropical storm force winds. The Belize City UN building will become the Crisis Centre as the UN is moving inland. Experts on stand-by include an Emergency Watsan from UNICEF and a Response Team from PAHO

CUBA

35. A Tropical storm watch remains in effect for the following provinces of Cuba: Pinar del Rio, La Habana and Isla de la Juventud. All other watches and warnings for Cuba were lifted.

36. More than 350, 000 people have been evacuated by the Civil Defense in the coastal provinces of Cuba with the approaching of hurricane Dean. The largest number of evacuees is in Granma, (276,000 evacuees) and in Santiago de Cuba (96,300).

MEXICO

37. A hurricane warning remains in effect along the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula from the Belize/Mexico border northward to Cancun; and along the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula from south of Progresso southward to Ciudad del Carmen. The government of Mexico has issued a tropical storm watch from west of Ciudad del Carmen to Veracruz.

38. Some 13,360 Mexican petrol workers have been evacuated from their station. The UNCT is working with the authorities on preparedness.

39. The Quintana Roo state government has set up 530 storm shelters in schools and other public buildings, with an estimated capacity of 73,000 people. Hundreds of people have already been ordered to evacuate from low-lying areas along the coast.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency

34. The CDERA Coordinating Unit continues to monitor the impact and threat of Hurricane Dean and stands ready to provide assistance if warranted.

35. OCHA continues to closely monitor the situation, including through the Regional Office in Panama, and remains in contact, with the Resident Coordinator and will provide further updates on the situation. This situation report together with further information on ongoing emergencies is also available on the OSOCC Internet Website http://www.unocha.org/vosocc and on the OCHA Internet Website http://www.reliefweb.int/.

For detailed information please contact:

Desk Officer (New York)
Mr. Ignacio León
Office Tel: +1 917 367-9960
Office Fax: +1 212 963-36 30
E-mail: leoni@un.org

GCMS (Geneva)
Ms. Aoibheann O’Keeffe
Office Tel: +41 22 917 4329
E-mail: okeeffe@un.org

OCHA Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean
Mr. Douglas Reimer, Regional Disaster Response Adviser
Office Tel. +507 317-1748
Office Fax +507 317-1744
Mobile: +507 6676-1689
E-mail: reimer@un.org

Press Contact:
(NY) Ms. Stephanie Bunker
Office Tel : + 1 917-367-5126
Office Fax: + 1 212-963-1312
Email: bunker@un.org

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