On 29 September, National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded Matthew to a hurricane. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph (110 km/h) –a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Gradual strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours.
Matthew crossed on 28 September over Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica. The islands received copious amounts of rainfall (up to 20cm) with precipitation continuing today. National Emergency Management Offices are assessing the situation; however, only minor damage has been reported to date.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: The country experienced heavy rainfalls (up to 18cm) and isolated flooding of some areas resulting in road blockages. 288 persons were sheltered in 12 locations across the island. The Government confirms one causality. Preliminary reports indicate all key infrastructure remains intact. Schools will be closed for the rest of the week. The officials indicated no intermediate need for external support, however assessments are still underway.
Dominica: The country experienced flash floods along the west coast and minor landslides and blocked roads were reported. As of early 29 September, no causalities, missing or injured people were reported. At the moment there is no call for further external support. However, rains continue and evaluations are ongoing.
St. Lucia: Information is limited out of St. Lucia. The island received some 14cm of rain overnight with precipitation continuing today causing water levels to peak at four meters before receding. 130 people stayed the night in six shelters and were returning to assess their homes this morning. Flooding and landslides were reported around the eastern areas of the island. The airport recently opened again however schools remain closed. In Soufriere one hospital was relocated to its alternate site. No causalities had been reported as of early morning. However, the national emergency management office gave the all clear notice and are in assessing damages.
Barbados: Limited flash floods occurred, but the country has not reported damages.
A projected clash with a weather front coming from the west will result in a sharp turn of the hurricane to the north by Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Projection models vary greatly with possible landfall between Sunday and Monday anywhere from central Cuba in the west, Jamaica in the middle, and Haiti in the east. Additionally, wave height projections show up to 6.5-meter-high waves might affect Haiti, Bahamas, Cayman Island, Jamaica and Cuba.
Tropical Storm Watch continues for Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire while Venezuela and Colombia are monitoring conditions along their northern coasts.
The Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) placed its Regional Response Mechanisms on alert and are in contact with national emergency management offices in the affected areas.
OCHA is in contact with CDEMA as well as UN Resident Coordinators in the region. The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) system on alert in the event that international assistance is required.
Regional humanitarian partners are on alert and monitoring the progress of the situation.
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- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.