Jamaica: Emergency assistance to the victims of Hurricane IVAN

Amount of Decision: Euro 1,200,000

Decision reference number: ECHO/JAM/EDF/2004/01000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population.

1.1. - Rationale:

Hurricane IVAN, one of the most violent hurricanes recorded in the Caribbean, hit Jamaica on Saturday, 11th September 2004 as a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Although the island was spared the full force of the hurricane when the eye took a westward turn just 30 miles from Kingston, the southern and western coast were exposed to sustained winds of more than 200 km/h and heavy rains during several hours. Waves of 7 to 8 meters height crashed on beachfronts, destroying homes and levelling trees. Worst hit were the areas of south, southwestern and central Jamaica, with the south central parishes of Clarendon, Westmorland and St. Catherine particularly badly affected.

Thousands of persons were left homeless as a result of the full or partial loss of homes. The ferocious winds ripped off rooftops from houses and the torrential flood rains caused land slippages, mudslides and flooding in several areas of the country. Throughout the country approximately 19,000 persons had to leave their homes.

In preparation for the hurricane's impact the Government of Jamaica had declared a state of national public emergency on 10 September before the passage of the hurricane.

1.2. - Identified needs:

An UNDAC team which had been pre-positioned before the arrival of Hurricane IVAN started its assessment immediately after the passage of the hurricane. Also most humanitarian organizations in the country become rapidly operational, assessing and responding to needs.

An ECHO mission was deployed to Jamaica from 16 to 20 September.

On 23 September 2004, the Government of Jamaica's Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) reported that of the estimated 19,000 individuals that sought refuge in the 358 public shelters opened for Hurricane IVAN, approximately 600 individuals still remained in 40 shelters. The breakdown of public water systems created an immediate need for access to water for the populations in the worst affected areas. Also, the distribution of non-food items is crucial for thousands of families who lost items of daily need to the floods and rains.

Furthermore, there is an urgent need to scale up public health intervention particularly in the areas of vector control, food safety, sanitation and water quality to prevent water/food borne and vector borne diseases.

Finally, families whose homes have been damaged but are still being used should be provided with material allowing them to at least repair their roofs to protect them against the rains. According to UNDAC reports more than 11,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed.

There is no official number of people estimated to be in need of humanitarian aid; estimations of international organisations indicate that there are more than 60.000 people i.e. between 12.000 and 15.000 families.