Hurricane Dean OCHA Situation Report No. 6

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 22 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 reached a Category 2 strength before making a second landfall on 22 August over the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Dean has now weakened to a tropical storm; however, heavy rain could result in flash flooding and mudslides.

The Government of Jamaica has confirmed two deaths as a result of hurricane Dean. The shelter population continues to decline and stands at 4,027. Current estimate is that 32,000 persons were affected.

Immediate humanitarian needs in Belize appear to be met with national resources. However the Government is requesting international assistance for the Belizean Defense Forces, the National Emergency Management Organization,on behalf of the Corozal Emergency Response Committee, and food assistance.

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 claimed already 13 deaths and caused extensive economic damage (see OCHA Situation Report 2, 3, 4 and 5).

FORECAST

2. Hurricane Dean reached Category 2 strength before making a second landfall Wednesday over the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Dean has now weakened to a tropical storm. The Hurricane Center reports Dean made landfall at 11:30 a.m. CDT near Tecolutla, Mexico, roughly 40 miles south-southeast of Tuxpan along the central Mexican coast. At 4 p.m. CDT, Dean's center was over land about 40 miles west of Poza Rica, Mexico, moving west at 17 mph. At landfall, Dean was a minimal Category 2 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds near 100 mph with higher gusts. By 4 p.m. CDT, the sustained winds had diminished to near 70 mph.

3 Dean will be ripped apart as it moves over the 12 thousand-foot peaks of the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains. The rain will intensify, with up to 20 inches possible in the higher elevations leading to possible flash floods and mudslides

MEXICO

5. Dean made its first landfall at about 4:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday near the port city of Majuhual, Mexico, just north of the border of Belize and Mexico. Maximum sustained winds at landfall were near 165 mph with gusts approaching 200 mph. There have been no reports of storm-related deaths across the Yucatan Peninsula. However, poor communications and impassable roads have made it difficult to determine the extent of the damage in isolated Mayan communities in the Yucatan jungle. 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.

6. Dean has virtually shut down Mexico's oil production in the Bay of Campeche. Permex informs that 407 oil and gas wells in the bay have been shut down. It is unclear whether energy installations in

Campeche Sound had suffered damage from the storm.

BELIZE

7. The Belize Meteorology Office expected the country to experience the impact of Dean for close to 6 hours with hurricane force winds extending outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds up to 175 miles (280 km). As a result, the Government of Belize extended the hurricane warning to the entire coast of Belize.

8. Prime Minister Said Musa declared the "All Clear" (Green Phase) at noon on August 21. Flood forecast indicate that levels in the Rio Hondo and the New River are not expected to rise significantly.

9. Immediately after the "All Clear" was given, the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) and its district offices conducted assessments jointly with UNDAC in Corozal, Orange Walk and the Cayes. More in depth sectoral assessments, including the by the ministries of health and social development are being conducted on August 22. Belizean Defense Forces conducted search and rescue operations immediately after impact.

10. The Belizean Ministry of Health (MOH) reports no storm-related fatalities and only a few minor injuries. During the night of August 21-22, there were 8000 people in shelters (86 hurricane shelters were opened nationally). It is believed that a larger portion of the population evacuated to private homes. NEMO district offices report all shelters closed with the exception of 40 families currently being housed in Corozal town.

11. The NEMO is assessing the number of families displaced to private residences to determine assistance needs. Initial estimates from NEMO's Relief and Supply Committee suggest approximately 1000-2000 people in need of assistance. Roof-repair materials will be required to assist with

reconstruction of damaged homes to allow displaced persons to return.

12. Immediate humanitarian needs appear to be met with national resources. Medium-term humanitarian assistance needs are being assessed. On-going assessment of response gaps and the potential need for international assistance will take place throughout the day of August 22. NEMO's Relief and Supply Committee provided food in shelters for 2000 people. NEMO reports sufficient stockpiles of food within the country - these are believed to be sufficient to meet medium-term needs, although the government lacks funds to purchase food items.

13. NEMO and the United Nations organised a rapid assessment on 21 August involving two over flights and five land assessment missions in Orange Walk, Corozal, and the Cayes. A joint assessment by UNDAC, the UNCT, and NEMO indicates that the damage was less than anticipated, consisting of some roof damage in Corozal and Orange Walk districts, some minor flooding and pier damage in San Pedro (Cayes). The number of homes with damages is estimated by UNDAC to be at a maximum of 5 -10% in Corozal district and less than 5% in Orange Walk district. Reports received from rural areas on August 22 indicate further damages to homes, not previously assessed.

14. The most significant damage seems to be in the agriculture sector with the loss of papaya plantations and damage to the sugar cane crop.

15. The NEMO reports that electricity and municipal water services have been restored to Orange Walk District and Corozal town and its immediate vicinity. Portions of rural Corozal remain without electricity and water. Damages to the electric gird is being repaired and should be completed in the short term. Water systems appear undamaged in all districts (the current lack of water in rural areas is primarily due to the absence of electricity). Roads are clear and passable; telecommunications are functional with the exception of regional wireless outages.

16. Hospitals are functional in Corozal town and Orange Walk Town. The MOH and PAHO have expressed concern over vector control and food/water borne diseases, particularly related to localized flooding. MOH efforts are focused on primary health care interventions and vector, food, and water borne diseases. The Ministry of Health has stated a need for spraying machines, as three of their own are out of order.

17. More than 1000 people are out of work as a result of the damage to the large scale papaya plantations. This will create unemployment for an estimated 1000 families.

18. The Belize Red Cross has distributed propositioned supplies of 100 blankets tarpaulins and kitchen sets and has sent an additional truck of relief to the affected areas on August 22. Another shipment is expected on August 23.

19. PAHO is providing direct technical cooperation in support of the Ministry of Health, including rapid assessment of the health sector. With PAHO's support, the MOH chartered a 12- seat plane and conducted a joint aerial surveillance. Participants included national health authorities, ministry of health technical officers, a representative of the Ministry of Finance and representatives of UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA and PAHO. In coordination with the MOH, PAHO offered professional in the provision of a regional expert adviser on post hurricane assessment and two national technical advisers (environmental health and food security and nutrition). PAHO will continue to work with the Ministry of Health in the following days in the needs assessment to be submitted to international donors.

20. UNICEF supported the joint assessment on August 21, particularly through the provision of a water and sanitation expert. UNICEF is conducting assessment of schools and the needs of women and children made homeless in Corozal. Psycho-social support resources (e.g., manuals and support

materials) are being provided to local authorities. Further UNICEF assessment will focus on the readiness of the school system for the start of the school year on the week of September 3.

21. A WFP food security specialist arrived from Guatemala and will be offering support to the government in assessing overall food security, including supply and distribution effectiveness/needs.

22. The European Union has provided an agricultural expert to advise local officials. A USAID Disaster Risk Management Specialist arrived in Belize on August 20. USAID relief supplies, including blankets and building materials, are available for shipment from Miami should they be requested.

BELIZE ASSISTANCE REQUESTED

23. Immediate humanitarian needs within the capacity of the government include: tarps, blankets and kitchen sets for 46 families currently in shelters and approximately 1650 persons displaced to private homes and potable water. Medium-term needs include building and roofing materials, emergency food supplies for approximately 1,000 people who have lost their primary source of income/plantations; and psycho-social support for children in the communities.

24. The Government of Belize is requesting the following assistance: - For the Belizean Defense Forces: 4 portable electric generators (20kw), 20 chainsaws [gas], 20 axes, 20 handsaws 20 shovels and 50 hammers. - For NEMO on behalf of the Corozal Emergency Response Committee: 2000 sheets of Zinc Roofing (8 foot length); 2000 sheets of Zinc Roofing (10 foot length); 2000 sheets of runner rye roofing material; 500 blankets; 500 linen sheets; 1000 pillows; 10-foot canvas (quantity required is not yet known); 20 portable generators (various sizes, for community centres/shelters); 1000 pounds of roofing nails; 1000 pounds of 2" nails; 500 pounds of 1" nails; 2000 2" x

4" x 8' boards; 2000 sheets of plywood (1/2-inch, 4' x 8') Food for 1000 people, for an unspecified duration: including rice (bulk), beans (bulk), flour (bulk), powdered milk (bulk), cooking oil (bulk) and canned fish (bulk).

25. Longer term needs are still being assessed, but may include agricultural reactivation, support for those who have lost their incomes, loan assistance for agricultural investment/redevelopment, infrastructure support for schools and hospitals, and assessment/technical assistance related to water supply in the affected districts.

SAINT LUCIA

26. 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 East Caribbean Dollar (EC$) 18,152,400. Generally, it appears that most of the damage was caused by the winds and the rough seas.

27. 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.

DOMINICA

28. Preliminary damage assessment indicate damage amounting to East Caribbean Dollar (EC$) 98,290000 (see OCHA Situation Report 5, 21 August).

JAMAICA

29. All weather warnings have been lifted in Jamaica. The Government of Jamaica has confirmed two deaths as a result of hurricane Dean. The shelter population continues to decline and stands at 4027.

30. A rapid assessment was carried out by air on 20 August. Current estimate is that 32,000 persons were affected. Damage to housing, infrastructure and crops has been caused by high winds in scattered communities along the South of the island. Storm surge has also caused damage in some coastal areas. There are reports of damage to health facilities. Structural damage is currently being assessed by field teams.

32. The Norman Manley Airport in Kingston and the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay are open. Road damage is not widespread but the main road from Kingston to the eastern end of the island has been breached in two places and is impassable.

33. East of Kingston, there was moderate to severe damage to a large percentage of the housing stock, especially those located along the coastline. Manchioneal in Portland also suffered moderate damage to housing stock as well as central and western parts of the island, Portland Cottage, in Clarendon, and Old Harbour Bay in St Catherine.

34. In Portland Cottage, roof damage was observed to houses of persons relocated after Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Some houses were destroyed. In Old Harbour Bay, there was flooding and severe storm surge damage with 200-300 houses destroyed and an estimated 2,500 persons affected in the community. The fishing community of Rocky Point, in Clarendon, was also affected by storm surge and wind activity.

35. Elsewhere there is widespread damage to agricultural crops, especially bananas and sugar cane crops, in the eastern end of the island.

36. All Public water supply systems have been affected. Priority trucking of water has been arranged for hospitals, health facilities and shelters. Five systems have been reactivated including two of the main systems supplying the capital. There is an acute need for water in Old Harbour Bay and Rocky Point on the South Coast.

37. Some major roads have been blocked but they are currently being cleared. However, there is significant damage on the South Coast 69 Kv transmission line and severe damage to the power transmission infrastructure in the east and south. Restoration of power has commenced with a priority being given to hospitals and other essential services. Cellular communication is available in 70% of the island.

HAITI

38. All over the country, the Departmental Committees on Risk and Disaster Management (CDGRD), supported by NGOs, IOs and the UN System continue to conduct field missions to better evaluate the impact of Hurricane Dean on agriculture, crops and fish sectors in anticipation for a possible food security problem in the coming weeks or months for affected areas and/or specific sectors.

39. In the Southeast department, evaluation teams have been sent into nearly all communes for initial evaluation of damages and needs. By the 21st August it was reported according to CDGRD that there is: 1201 temporary sheltered, 1 death, 6 injured, 792 affected families and 140 destroyed, 423 partially and 229 slightly affected houses in the communes of Jacmel, Bainet, Cotes de Fer, Marigot, La Vallée Cayes Jacmel, Belle Anse, Thiotte, Grand Gosier and Anse à Pitre. In this community, 23 schools have been damaged, 243 livestock have been lost. There is also extensive damage to banana, coffee, avocado and maize plantation as well as loss of fishing material.

40. WFP reported that 1.6 MT of HEB have been distributed to 2,000 beneficiaries in Jacmel, and to all the communes on the cost of the Southeast Department by various partners mainly Red Cross and DPC (Direction de Protection Civile). The Haitian Ministry of Public Works (TPTC) are clearing roads. The Department of Agriculture is to undertake a sectoral evaluation.

41. To increase the capacity of local actors to assess the situation, some NGOs as PLAN and CRS deployed additional staff to the department. On 22 August, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and OFDA visited the department with DPC to assist the CDRGR on identification of needs.

42. The CDRGD has so far identified the need for assistance in the following sectors:

- Urgent roof repairs and reconstruction of houses and schools;

- Recapitalization of families due to significant loss in terms of agriculture, livestock, fishing materials;

- Assistance with school materials for those who have loss their means of livelihood or houses; AND

- NFI for those families whose homes were destroyed.

43. In the South Department, WFP reported that 0.8 MT of HEB have been distributed to 1,000 beneficiaries by TDH (Terre des Hommes) and CRS (Catholic Relief Services) in Les Cayes and surrounding areas. As the Hurricane season will continue until November, the remaining balance of 20 MT will be split in two contingency stocks: 10 MT in Les Cayes (South Department - TDH warehouse) and 10 MT in Jérémie (Department of Grande-Anse - CRS warehouse).

44. In Grande Anse, on 21August a helicopter of MINUSTAH supported medical evacuation of four injured people from Cap-à-Four, commune of Les Irois. As a result of a wreck occurred on 19 August, 4 fishermen have been injured, one of them seriously. The injured people are now at St. Antoine hospital, in Jérémie, assisted by MDM-F.

45. 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/.