Caribbean Hurricanes - Fact Sheet #2 FY18

Octber 05, 2017

  • JTF-LI successfully completes Dominica response activities on October 5.
  • DART delivers additional plastic sheeting and water containers to meet priority needs.
  • Continued external food assistance required due to storm-related food insecurity

Numbers At A Glance

25

Reported Fatalities in the Caribbean Region due to Hurricane Irma

Up to 265,000

People in the Caribbean Region Affected by Hurricane Irma

27

Reported Fatalities in Dominica due to Hurricane Maria

71,293

People on Dominica Affected by Hurricane Maria

162

Metric Tons of USAID/OFDA Relief Items Airlifted to Five Hurricane-Affected Countries

Humanitarian Funding

For the Caribbean Hurricanes Response in FY 2017

USAID/OFDA $1,935,618
DoD $12,300,000
Total 14,235,618

On October 5, the USAID Caribbean Hurricanes Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) delivered an additional 150 rolls of plastic sheeting, as well as water containers, to support storm-affected Dominicans. On October 3, the DART delivered an additional 160 plastic sheets and 100 blankets to Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (GoCD) officials for onward distribution to Jimmitt, Dominica.

On October 5, Joint Task Force-Leeward Islands (JTF-LI), comprising members of DoD’s Southern Command, officially concluded Hurricane Maria response activities in Dominica. Since September 9, JTF-LI provided critical support to USAID/OFDA-led humanitarian response activities, including airlifting 155 metric tons (MT) of relief commodities, to meet the emergency needs of storm-affected people in the Caribbean region.

The humanitarian situation in Dominica continues to improve as the majority of roads are now clear of debris and airports have re-opened. Repairs to electricity and water networks are ongoing, with approximately 45 percent of residents in the capital city of Roseau regaining access to piped water as of October 4. Electricity has been restored in most of Roseau and Portsmouth, including the two main hospitals, the UN reports.

In the aftermath of destructive hurricanes Irma and Maria, USAID/OFDA has led the U.S. Government (USG) international humanitarian response in the Caribbean region. Since early September, the USG has provided more than $14.2 million in humanitarian assistance to Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint-Martin, and Sint Maarten. The DART currently comprises staff located in Barbados, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, including three disaster risk management specialists (DRMSs) supporting response coordination at Dominica’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

On October 5, JTF-LI successfully completed hurricane response activities in Dominica as humanitarian conditions and access to populations in need have steadily improved. To facilitate the rapid delivery of assistance throughout Dominica, the DART requested the unique capabilities of DoD through the JTF-LI to transport relief items to isolated communities. Since September 9, JTF-LI personnel supported storm-affected populations through more than 55 flight sorties that delivered more than 155 MT of emergency relief commodities, such as plastic sheeting and water containers. In addition, JTF-LI transported nearly 61 MT of response-related equipment, including desalinization units and forklifts. To further support hurricane response efforts, DoD aircraft transported more than 130 humanitarian personnel.

In coordination with the GoCD, the DART is gradually transitioning from emergency response to early recovery activities as humanitarian conditions improve in Dominica. The GoCD and other stakeholders are transitioning focus to early recovery efforts, while response activities continue. In support of the transition to early recovery, three USAID/OFDA-supported DRMSs will remain in Dominica to support the EOC’s existing capacity and the GoCD-led response to Hurricane Maria.

As of early October, more than 3,000 storm-displaced people remain in 78 assessed shelters—of 143 identified shelter centers—in Dominica as a result of housing damage resulting from Hurricane Maria, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports. IOM continues to conduct rapid shelter site verification activities and plans to conduct needs assessments among people residing in shelters in the coming days.

On October 3, the DART delivered 160 plastic sheets and 100 blankets to GoCD government officials for onward distribution to affected populations. On October 5, the DART delivered an additional 150 rolls of plastic sheeting, as well as water containers, to support storm-affected Dominicans. With DoD support, the DART also distributed GoCD-provided canned goods, kitchen sets, and rice on October 3 to residents in Dominica’s Wottenwaven and Bagatelle villages, which had been difficult to access by road following Hurricane Maria.

Between September 25 and October 2, the DART distributed plastic sheeting to St. Andrew, St. David, St. John, and St. Joseph parishes in northern and eastern Dominica to address the shelter needs of more than 2,500 hurricane-affected households.

The Dominica Water and Sewerage Company (DOWASCO) reports it has restored piped water services to approximately 45 percent of Roseau’s population, as well as to approximately 50 percent of the population in the town of Canefield. Many of the leaks in the piped water system are the result of damage to household and building water service connections caused by heavy equipment during the debris removal process.

On October 2, the DART, with DoD support, transported 3,000 feet of replacement pipes and related equipment to Dominica’s isolated Grand Bay community to assist with repairing the water distribution system. DOWASCO estimates that repairs to Grand Bay’s piped distribution system will require approximately three days; the company aims to restore water to the area by the week of October 9.

On October 4, a DART water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) technical expert and a UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative visited the DOWASCO sewer treatment plant near Roseau to assess damages and meet with DOWASCO officials. The plant operator reported that storm damage hindered plant operations, and that mud and debris are blocking the network of sewage pipes running beneath roads in Roseau. The operator noted DOWASO would require external resources and equipment to fully complete repairs. In response, the DART is providing technical assistance to identify external support resources and equipment that DOWASCO will require to complete longer-term reconstruction activities.

On October 1, at the request of the DART, the JTF-LI airlifted water treatment supplies, including 600 pounds of calcium hypochlorite (HTH), to the island. The DART is providing the HTH—chlorine in concentrated granular form—to DOWASCO for general cleaning of its water systems.

The DART’s WASH technical advisor and other humanitarian actors continue to support improved access to safe drinking water for Dominican residents. USAID/OFDA has contributed $200,000 to Samaritan’s Purse to support WASH assistance for more than 14,300 people, or approximately 20 percent of Dominica’s population.

On October 4, the UN reported that GoCD blanket food distributions—supported by the UN World Food Program (WFP) and other response stakeholders—continue to reach storm-affected populations in Dominica. To date, at least 70 metric tons (MT) of food have been delivered in 50 locations, meeting the food needs of approximately half the country for three days, the UN reports. WFP indicates that residents of Dominica will continue to require blanket food distributions until commercial food outlets reopen, permitting a potential shift to cash- or voucher-based assistance.

On October 3, DART food security technical advisors conducted rapid needs assessments in northeast Dominica, including Castle Bruce, Marigot, and Wesley towns, finding that storm-affected populations continue to require food assistance. Households and stores reported dwindling food stocks and uncertainty regarding future food supplies. In addition, individuals described widespread agricultural destruction and hampered access to fields due to downed trees and landslides in the northeastern region—an important agricultural production area—which will affect households’ ability to access sufficient quantities and diverse types of food in the immediate to near-term. Despite the limited food supply, the DART reports that the prices of food, where available, remain comparable to pre-storm prices. DART members also spoke with a representative of a local financial institution, who reported operations were resuming, but with greatly reduced service hours and account withdrawal limits.

The DART and DoD have helped facilitate recent GoCD food distributions, and DART staff continue to coordinate with humanitarian actors and the private sector to determine how best to address outstanding food assistance needs

On October 3, UN Resident Coordinator (RC) for Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Stephen O’Malley noted the positive progress of relief operations in Dominica. Since Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 18, resulting in widespread devastation, Dominica’s primary port has reopened, most roads are passable, and humanitarian assistance is regularly reaching storm-affected populations, RC O’Malley noted. To continue robust response efforts, RC O’Malley urged international donors to contribute to the Dominica Flash Appeal, which calls for $31.1 million to support early recovery and humanitarian efforts.

On October 7, UN Secretary-General (SG) António Guterres is scheduled to travel to the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, and Dominica to survey storm damage and observe response activities. SG Guterres has highlighted recently launched UN appeals for nearly $114 million to address critical storm-related needs throughout affected areas of the Caribbean.

During successive weeks in September, hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria tracked through the Caribbean. The storms, particularly Irma and Maria, brought destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and dangerous storm surge to affected islands, leading to at least 52 fatalities and causing significant infrastructure damage across the region.

On September 6, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Lisa A. Johnson issued a disaster declaration in response to the anticipated effects of Hurricane Irma in The Bahamas, and on September 7, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Linda S. Taglialatela issued a disaster declaration in response to Hurricane Irma and the anticipated effects of Hurricane Jose in Antigua and Barbuda. In response, USAID/OFDA contributed an initial $100,000 each to the Bahamas Red Cross Society and the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross Society.

On September 7, USAID activated a regional DART and stood up a Washington, D.C.-based Response Management Team to coordinate the USG’s humanitarian response to the hurricanes.

On September 9, U.S. Embassy in Paris Chargé d’Affaires D. Brent Hardt issued a disaster declaration for French Saint-Martin, and on September 10, U.S. Embassy in The Hague Chargé d’Affaires Shawn Crowley declared a disaster for Sint Maarten due to the effects of Hurricane Irma and anticipated effects of Hurricane Jose. In response, USAID/OFDA contributed an initial $100,000 each for activities in Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten.

Following the passage of Hurricane Maria, Ambassador Taglialatela issued disaster declarations for Dominica and Saint Kitts and Nevis on September 19 and 22, respectively. In response, USAID/OFDA provided an initial $100,000 to Dominica and $50,000 to Saint Kitts and Nevis for immediate humanitarian relief efforts.

On October 2, Ambassador Taglialatela renewed the disaster declarations in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica for FY 2018 due to continued humanitarian needs caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for disaster responses around the world can be found at www.interaction.org.

USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

More information can be found at: USAID Center for International Disaster Information: www.cidi.org or +1.202.661.7710. Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at www.reliefweb.int.

Last updated: October 06, 2017

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