Hurricane Dean OCHA Situation Report No. 5

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 21 Aug 2007
This situation report is based on information from hurricane watch centres, UN Agencies, Regional OCHA Office in Panama, CDERA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency) and National Authorities

HIGHLIGHTS

Hurricane Dean has been downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 1 hurricane on 21 August as it crossed the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It is expected to re-intensify as it moves over the Bay of Campeche.

A Hurricane Warning remains in effect along Mexico's Gulf Coast from Progresso to Tampico, while a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Tampico north to La Pesca.

Some 15,000 families in need of assistance in Jamaica.

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, Martinique, Belize and Mexico. Hurricane Dean reached the southern coast of Jamaica claiming already 13 deaths and causing extensive economic damage (see OCHA Situation Report 2, 3 and 4).

FORECAST

2. Hurricane Dean went from a Category 5 to a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday as it crossed the Yucatan Peninsula. It is expected to re-intensify as it moves over the Bay of Campeche, Mexico.

3. The Hurricane Center reports at 5 p.m. EDT that Dean was located about 60 miles west-southwest of Campeche moving west at about 20 mph. The topography of the Yucatan has torn up Dean, with sustained winds now down to 80 mph with higher gusts. Hurricane-force winds extend out about 35 miles while tropical storm-force winds are being felt as much as 140 miles from the center of the storm. Dean will re-energize as it moves across the Bay of Campeche before making a second landfall Wednesday 22 August over eastern Mexico between

Tampico and Veracruz. Officials in Texas are taking precautionary measures. A state of emergency is in effect on South Padre Island, although no evacuation orders have been issued.

4. Dean is expected to produce storm total rainfall of 5 to 10 inches over parts of southern and central Mexico and Guatemala with maximum amounts of up to 20 inches.

MEXICO

5. Hurricane Dean, which had intensified into a Category 5 storm, struck the Yucatan peninsula near the city of Chetumal early on 21 August. According to officials in Quintana Roo state, there were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries or major damage; however, officials had not been able to survey much of the remote areas of the Yucatan. Chetumal was left without electricity when sustained winds of 265 kilometres per hour knocked down power, phone lines and trees.

6. A Hurricane Warning remains in effect along Mexico's Gulf Coast from Progresso to Tampico, while a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Tampico north to La Pesca. The storm surge in the hurricane warning area could reach 6 to 8 feet above normal tide levels.

7. Pemex, Mexico's state-run oil company, has shut down all production rigs in the Bay of Campeche and evacuated all 18,000 workers. The shut-down has resulted in a daily production loss of 2.7 million barrels of oil and 2.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

8. Mexican President Felipe Calderon will visit the hardest-hit areas in Yucatan. The United States offered assistance and expressed concern for the citizens of Mexico and other countries affected by Dean.

9. The Mexican Red Cross has deployed 150 members of its National Intervention Team to the coastal city of Cancún, along with 2,000 food kits. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA) has purchased food items for 800 families (4,000 individuals). 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. World Vision is also preparing staff and relief supplies.

BELIZE

10. There have been no reports of casualties to date. Following Hurricane Dean passage, there is no significant impact in Belize City and Belmopan, nor major damage to health infrastructure. Most affected communities are the Noth of Corazal district including Corazal city, Sarteneja, Consejo and comminutes around. Electricity and water are still cut off in several community in the north corazal district, where papaya plantations were damaged. Roads to the north are reported open and telecommunications are functioning in urban areas. The National Emergency management Organization (NEMO) advised residents of San Pedro, Ambergris and Belize City that the curfew has been lifted.

11. There are various reports of roofs blown off in the north - particularly in Corozal District. Some rural areas have not yet been reporting the situation such as Consejo and Douglas. San Paulo, in the northern cays, reports no significant damage, although further assessment is required.

12. The UNDAC and UN Country Teams are concluding planning for a joint assessment mission with the NEMO by air and land.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

13. Heavy rain caused street floods in Santo Domingo.

SAINT LUCIA

14. Hurricane Dean affected St. Lucia on 17 August 2007. A small assessment team visited some of the more affected sites. Based on the information gathered, the total damage has been estimated at USD 18,152,400. Generally, it appears that most of the damage was caused by the winds and the rough seas.

15. The northern areas appear to be the worst hit, with over 15 roofs blown out, and two small houses along the waterfront completely damaged in the Town of Gros Islet. In the other communities, the damage was primarily to roofs, though most of them repairable. Damage to the coastline appears to be significant, particularly to the north of the Island.

16. Flooding caused damage to the banana plantations in the three valleys. The heavy seas have also resulted in a number of boats and engines being lost and damaged. Lines dropped, with some reported damage, and communication towers were affected. Throughout the Island there were several reports of fallen trees across roads and property as well as blocked drains.

17. Information obtained from the Ministry of Education revealed that some eleven schools were damaged at varying levels. Generally, the infrastructure withstood Hurricane Dean.

18. A complete summary of the damage assessment can be found at http://www.cdera.org. 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.

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/.