HURRICANE IRMA – SITUATION REPORT #1
Report from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) as of 9:00PM AST on September 6, 2017
Thursday, September 7, 2017 — Hurricane Irma a powerful Category 5 Hurricane impacted the CDEMA Participating States of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and Montserrat over Tuesday night into Wednesday evening, September 06, 2017.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is working in collaboration with the OECS Commission and other regional and international development agencies as outlined in this report to provide emergency disaster relief to islands impacted.
Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. Maximum sustained winds are near 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days. Another update from CDEMA will be sent within the next 24 hours.
The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology provided CDEMA with an impact analysis:
Flood/Landslide: Satellite-based rainfall estimates show 24 hr rainfall in excess of 300 mm in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas. Rainfall amounts in Haiti are likely to be enhanced due to local topographic conditions. Intense rainfall activity will lead to flash flooding, dangerous river conditions, landslides and debris flows. Flooding likely to be significantly enhanced within coastal bays due to expected runoff, wave run up, storm surge and tides.
Wind: Winds large at Hurricane force with extremely strong gusts in areas of thunderstorms. Hurricane force winds are very dangerous especially in elevated areas and will produce significant damages to infrastructure and life threatening conditions.
Waves: Significant wave heights likely to exceed 8 metres with storm surge in excess of 4 m in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Storm surge of up to 20 ft is expected in the islands of the Southern Bahamas. Rough seas and damaging waves are imminent, leading to inundation and damages along coastlines and to coastal infrastructure.
NATIONAL UPDATES – POST IMPACT:
Initial reports only are emerging from impacted CDEMA Participating States as of September 6, 2017. These have revealed the following:
- Extensive damage to critical services including airport, hospital, schools, fire stations, police stations and prison
- One fatality reported
- Several persons were evacuated
- 90% of utilities damaged (electricity, mobile, cable)
- 90% of roads impassable
- Twelve (12) persons utilized the four (4) shelters that were opened. Each shelter received various levels of damage and are currently closed.
- Official all clear was given after 3pm Wednesday September 6th 2017.
Requested CARICOM Disaster Response and Assessment Coordination Team (CDAC) and the CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST)
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
The following information was provided by the NEOC:
- 3 minor injuries reported prior to the hurricane and one injury sustained after the passage of Irma
- Initial situation overview on-going
- Initial reports suggest Level 1 damage
- Airport currently open for emergency landings, and VC Bird International Airport expected to re-open for commercial flights on Thursday, September 7th .
- The Sea Port is intact and operational
- The MET office has indicated that Barbuda had experienced winds of 119mph with gusts of 150mph.
- Contact was lost with Barbuda just after 1am. Note: Barbuda took down the antennae for radio communications as a mitigation measure and is expected to re-establish it after the winds have abated and hence a better idea of damage can be communicated.
- Reports of major roof damage
- Damaged utility poles
- Uprooted trees
An initial situation overview of Barbuda was undertaken September 6, 2017 and no request for external support is being made at this time.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS (BVI)
- The NEOC is destroyed and operations were moved to an alternate location
- Communication systems have been impacted
- Major damage to housing and commercial buildings reported with significant loss of resources
- 100 persons housed in 9 shelters
- Reports of damage to the roof of one shelter
- The all clear is expected to be given at 11:00 p.m. tonight, September 06, 2017
Awaiting further reports from BVI following initial situation overview on Thursday September 7, 2017.
The island experienced some rains, gusty winds and experienced flash flooding in the south of the island on Tuesday, September 5th. No fatalities have been reported. The following was provided by the NEOC:
- Shelters were opened yesterday and some persons took shelter
- Tropical Storm Warning has been lifted as of 5AM September 6, 2017
- The public has still been advised to exercise caution.
- Anticipate that the all clear will be given today.
No immediate needs identified at this time.
The island experienced some wind and rain, with no reports of damage to date. The following was provided by the NEOC:
- Main power was shut off as a precautionary measure.
- Several evacuations were undertaken ahead of the event.
No immediate needs identified at this time.
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS
The NEOC reported that the EOC was stood up September 5th and reported the following;
- No reports of deaths/missing persons at this time. · Damage to homes in areas such as Conaree, Molineaux and St.Paul’s Keys
- Downed poles and trees
- Disruption of electricity supply
- Power is out.
- Twelve shelters were opened with 33 persons housed
- Several persons had to be evacuated this morning due to roofs of homes being blown off.
- Assessments starting at 7 with the known vulnerable areas
No immediate needs identified at this time.
The Regional Coordination Plan (RCP) remains activated and the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) was fully activated on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017. The CDEMA CU has initiated the following actions:
- Maintained regular contact with impacted and threatened Participating States
- An Operational Scenario and Plan was developed and shared with threatened Participating States and development partners for the Eastern Caribbean
- Provided periodic briefings to the Secretary-General of CARICOM
- Prepared and disseminated 5 Information Notes to stakeholders on TS Irma,
- Conducted technical and operational briefings in collaboration with CIMH for the Eastern Caribbean Development Partner Group for Disaster Management (ECDPG-DM) and threatened States
- Regional response teams are on standby for deployment – CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU), CARICOM Disaster Response and Assessment Coordination Team (CDAC) and the CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST) and the Rapid Needs Assessment team (RNAT)
- Preliminary impact assessments, based on current population data and project/actual impact were developed and these will be verified after the initial situation overview.
Third Meeting of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) Partners September 6, 2017
The third meeting of the RRM Partners was convened today, Wednesday September 6, 2017 at 1:15pm at the CDEMA Coordinating Unit. The meeting was chaired by CDEMA’s Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director. Approximately forty three (43) participants from regional and international donor, humanitarian and development agencies were represented.
The following updates were provided at the RRM meeting:
Regional Institutional Updates
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
- Stated that Public Health mechanism activated
- Has pledged personnel to assist with support to states
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
- Provided a grant of 150,000.00 USD to support regional response actions through CDEMA
- Emergency Response Grants of US$200,000 are available to impacted Participating States based on damage assessments
Caribbean Development Fund (CDF)
- Indicated that there is an emergency Disaster Facility of US$100,000 available, adding that there is flexibility to increase this amount depending on the severity of the event
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
- Identified technical staff to support assessments in affected Participating States as required.
Regional Security System (RSS)
- 2017 CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU) has been placed on standby and security chiefs have been asked to place 2016 CDRU team on alert for possible deployment.
- Barbados Coast Guard vessels have been placed on alert for possible deployment to support operations
- RSS Airwing is on standby to perform aerial reconnaissance.
International Institutions Updates:
European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- Deploying an Emergency Response and Resilience Coordinator to the Dominican Republic. This augments an existing coordinator in Haiti
Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
- Confirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to the provision of 2 airport specialists to support the RNAT.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
- Provided 60,000 swiss francs to the National Red Cross Societies in Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis
- The Americas regional office and office in Trinidad have been fully activated
- Surge capacity has been identified and are en route to Trinidad
- Indicated that they are in close coordination with their overseas territories-French, Dutch and British
- Team coordinating activities in Haiti with the local Red Cross Society
- International funds will soon be requested by the Dominican Republic to ramp up preparedness activities, including the pre-positioning of personnel and supplies
United Kingdom (DFID)
- The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay is enroute to Anguilla to support response operations.
United Nations (UN) Agencies
- Identified Agricultural and Fisheries specialists to be deployed.
- Pre-deployed a consultant to the Turks and Caicos Islands and will deploy a consultant to the Bahamas
- Advised that there are 3 PAHO staff members stationed in Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and in St Kitts/Nevis
- Washington office has been assisting and supporting with monitoring and providing updates
- Maintaining contact with the countries’ Ministries of Health and Disaster Coordinators
- Teams are on stand-by to support the areas of Coordination, Logistics, Water and Sanitation, Damage and Needs Assessment and Information Management
- Additional teams may be added if required
- Identified personnel in Barbados to support assessment teams
- Indicated that their New York and Panama Offices have been fully engaged
- Coordinating with Panama and Jamaica offices
- Can supply reproductive health kits, as well as dignity and hygiene kits available for deployment
- Surge capacity from Latin America and the Caribbean are on standby, with one team member pre-deployed to Barbados to support Rapid Assessment and WASH
- Technical assistance in the areas of Health, Education and Child Protection (two are already in Barbados – Health and Child Protection)
- Water purification tablets
- Technical support for the operation of desalination plants
- Pre-positioned supplies in Barbados and Antigua
- Collaborating with PAHO to provide psycho-social support
f. UN OCHA
- Two technical personnel have been deployed and have arrived in Barbados for onward deployment to affected states
g. UN WOMEN
- Can provide a Social Protection Specialist
Sub Regional Actions:
1. Jamaica – Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
- Indicated that they are on standby to perform their function as Northwestern Sub-Regional Focal Point and are actively monitoring the system.
- Thirty-five member Jamaica Defense Force DART Team on standby for deployment.
2. Antigua – National Office of Disaster Services
- Antigua has confirmed its ability to function its sub-regional focal point duties
Irma, the 9th named hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, became a category 5 hurricane in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday September 5, 2017. On Wednesday September 06, 2017, at 8:00 PM AST (0000 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 19.1 North, longitude 66.1 West.
CDEMA continues to monitor the system and will provide public updates as necessary.