Jamaica Floods: DREF Bulletin No. MDRJM001 Update No. 1

Situation Report
Originally published


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 185 countries.

In Brief

Period covered by this update: 1 December 2006 to 29 January 2007.

History of this Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)-funded operation:

- CHF 25,000 (USD 20,757 or EUR 15,723) CHF was allocated from the Federations DREF on 28 November 2006 to respond to the needs of this operation.

- This operation is expected to be implemented for 2 months, and will be completed by 28 January 2006; a DREF Bulletin Final Report (narrative and financial) will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 28 April 2007).

The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

Background and current situation

For five days - between 22 and 26 November 2006 - large areas of Jamaica were subjected to excessive rainfall as a result of an upper level trough and cold front in the vicinity of the island. The north-eastern parishes of St Ann, St Mary, and Portland were mainly affected by this weather system. The entire town of Port Maria in St Mary- a town which is below sea level - was under water, leaving its citizens marooned in business places and homes, making it impossible for even essential services such as the police to respond to the needs of the population.

The death of one woman was reported in Portland when her home was destroyed by a landslide. Several main roads were blocked and sustained structural damage due to the unusually heavy levels of water flowing across and under them. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPEM) reported that over 1,000 families (approximately 5,000 persons) were housed in shelters on 24 November. In St Thomas, Portland, St Ann and St Mary three houses were completely destroyed, 42 houses sustained structural damage and 958 houses showed minor damage and loss of household effects. The Jamaica meteorological service lifted the flash flood warning for the areas affected on Sunday 26 November, after the waters had subsided.

Addressing the post-Cabinet press briefing on 11 December at Jamaica House, the Minister of Information and Development, explained that Cabinet has taken a decision to offer assistance to the victims of the flooding in St Thomas, St Mary, Portland and St Ann. The level of assistance to be offered will be 30,000 Jamaican dollars (some CHF 555) for those who have had their houses totally destroyed; 20,000 Jamaican dollars (some CHF 370) for those who have had the structure of their houses damaged, but not destroyed, and 10,000 Jamaican dollars (some CHF 185) for those with minor house damage and loss of household effects. The total amount approved by the Cabinet is 10.5 million Jamaican dollars (some CHF 194,000) to be distributed amongst 1,003 families in the affected parishes.

Map: Jamaica: Floods - Situation map

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

- In Jamaica: Yvonne Clarke, Director General, Jamaica Red Cross, email: yvonneclarke@jamaicaredcross.org , phone: + (876) 984 7860-2, fax: + (876) 984 8272

- In Panama, Stephen McAndrew, Head, Pan American Disaster Response Unit, email: stephen.mcandrew@ifrc.org , phone: (507) 316-1001, fax: (507) 316-1082

- In Geneva: Luis Luna, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, email: luis.luna@ifrc.org ; phone 41.22.730.4274; fax 41.22.733.03.95

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org