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CDEMA issues updated situation report for Eastern Caribbean islands
Published on January 3, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- The Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has issued an updated report on the damage caused in participating states of CDEMA’s Central Sub-Region of Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica by severe rains and high winds from December 23 – 25, 2013.

The synopsis by the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) stated that a small low level trough had moved into the Eastern Caribbean under the influence of a mid to upper level trough. The orientation of the eastern side of the upper level trough had significantly enhanced showers and thunderstorm activity over the states of the Eastern Caribbean.

Between December 23 and 24, Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia began reporting heavy shower activity.

Having triggered their national disaster management plans, the National Emergency Operations Centers in Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica were activated to coordinate their emergency response operations. Damage and Needs Assessment (DANA) Teams have also been deployed. Preliminary impact assessment and immediate needs have been identified, and more detail damage assessment reports are being formalized.

CDEMA has initiated the Regional Coordination Plan and activated elements of the Regional Response Mechanism; including the Eastern Caribbean Development Partners Group for Disaster Management, the Regional Security System, Pan American Health Organization, The Caribbean Development Bank, and University of the West Indies, et al.

CDEMA continues to be in contact with the affected states and is coordinating the response and recovery support.

Barbados is the Central Sub-regional focal point in the CDEMA system. The government of Barbados is making available a Coast Guard vessel to assist in transporting emergency supplies to St Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia. The Barbados Coast Guard Vessel “Trident” is capable of transporting over four tons of cargo at one time.

The government and people of Trinidad and Tobago having provided two containers of relief supplies to Saint Lucia on Friday December 27, 2013, pledged to provide similar support to St Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday, December 31, 2013. Trinidad and Tobago is the Southern Sub-regional focal point in the CDEMA system and is one of the key elements of the Regional Response Mechanism.

Jamaica is the North Western Sub-region focal point in the CDEMA system and is presently in discussions with St Vincent and the Grenadines to see the most appropriate areas for intervention.

A technical fact finding team from the Eastern Caribbean Development Partners Group on Disaster Management (ECDG DM), led by the Executive Director of CDEMA and transported in a Regional Security (RSS) Aircraft, conducted three missions to the impacted states. On Saturday December 28, 2013, the team visited St Vincent and the Grenadines in the morning and Saint Lucia in the afternoon. On Sunday, December 29, 2013, the team visited Dominica in the morning.

During the mission to St Vincent and the Grenadines, the team attended the Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (DANA) meeting which was chaired by Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The team was able to get a better understanding of their specific needs and areas for support.

During the mission to Saint Lucia, the team was hosted by the Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony, who briefed the team on Saint Lucia’s specific needs and challenges in order to identify avenues where CDEMA, Barbados and the UNDP could assist.

During the mission to Dominica, the team met at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) with representatives from a number of key agencies and departments including: Ministry of Lands, Housing, Settlements and Water Management; Dominica Meteorological Service; Ministry of Public Works, Energy and Ports; Ministry of national security, Labour and Immigration; Local Government Representative and Ministry of Agriculture. They were able to identify the recovery priorities for Dominica and some of their urgent mitigation works.

Members of the Technical Fact Finding Team reported back to the ECDPG DM on Monday December 30, 2013.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) conducted a Rapid Needs Assessment in St Vincent and the Grenadines (for the Health Sector) on Saturday, December 29, 2013, and submitted a report on their findings, priority areas, immediate and recommendations. The estimated damage cost for Milton Cato Memorial Hospital is USD$314,210.85. UNICEF also donated purification tablets.

The CDEMA CU is assisting the three impacted states in developing proposals to access the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Emergency Response Grant facility and the Emergency Recovery Loan facility.

CIMH agreed to deploy a technical specialist on Tuesday, December 31, 2013, to St Vincent and the Grenadines to assist with the assessments of the hydrological and land slide areas.

The University of the West Indies has regional engineers on stand-by awaiting formal requests from the impacted states to deploy in support of the rehabilitation and recovery of bridges, roads etc.

National Reports and Actions:

St Vincent and the Grenadines

The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in St Vincent and the Grenadines has been actively engaged in the emergency response after the December 24-25 event which resulted in the death of nine persons, three still missing and 37 persons injured. Over 500 persons were affected, of which 237 are provided with emergency shelter.

Preliminary reports from initial assessments of the housing stock reveal that 30 homes were destroyed and a further 135 are listed as damaged. Assessments are ongoing and these numbers are expected to increase.

Critical Facilities and Infrastructure

The Ministry of Health with technical support from PAHO conducted an initial damage assessment at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) which was severely impacted by the flooding.

Reports from the Roads, Building and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) and the Ministry of Transport and Works indicate that several roads and bridges in the impacted areas have broken, washed away or severely undermined. River defences along most of the rivers have been destroyed. BRAGSA along with the Ministry of Transport and Works are continuing the assessment of the infrastructure.

Fifty percent of consumers (approximately 50,000 persons) were without pipe borne water and it was expected that by Tuesday 85% of consumers will have access to water. In total, some 75% of the country’s supply was disrupted in the space of a few hours. Preliminary estimated cost of full restoration and remedial measures to the affected systems could run into EC$20 million.

Affected Population

The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has declared a level two disaster for St Vincent and the Grenadines. A level two disaster is declared when the damage is severe and for which local resources and response capacity are limited and specialized external assistance is requested.

EOC Status

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) continues to be partially activated with key agencies and volunteers involved in coordinating the response operations.

National Response

The National Emergency Management Organization continues to coordinate the response to this emergency and has circulated six situation reports (SITREPS) on the December 24-25 event.

• Access to all communities has been restored and cleanup operations by BRAGSA and Ministry of Transport and Works continue.

• The Initial Damage Assessment Process using the USAID/OFDA Methodology commenced on Christmas Day on the Leeward Side and is ongoing.

• Social Assessments began on Boxing Day in the communities of South Rivers and Buccament followd by Spring Village on Friday. This is being led by the Ministry of National Mobilisation and the Central Planning Division. Assessments will continue Monday.

• The Central Water and Sewage Authority is trucking water into the affected areas and repairs are ongoing on various systems

Immediate Needs

The immediate needs are mainly: hygiene kits, toiletries, mattresses, collapsible water containers, building materials, medical kit and equipment, generators, water tanks, etc.

Saint Lucia

NEMO Saint Lucia has circulated seven briefing notes on the “2013 Christmas Trough” to its Cabinet of Ministers and National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC).

On 30 December, 2013, the prime minister held a briefing in the morning with the media and in the afternoon with the Diplomatic Corps in order to update them on the impact of the event and the national emergency response activities.

Affected Population:

There are reports of six confirmed deaths related to the weather system. All are males – five were confirmed dead in the south and one in the north.

EOC Status

The National Emergency Operations Centre will remain active until January 3, 2014.

National Response

• All National and District Disaster Committees (DDCs) have been activated.

• Communications links to Soufriere have been re-established.

• Registration of needs of victims by the District Disaster Committees continues.

• The APESL (Engineers Association) provided technical assistance with the DANA exercise. Three teams of engineers were deployed on December 26, to assess three key "hot spots".

• Ministry of Education has commenced assessments with the aim of activating the “Return to Happiness Program” for the children impacted by the disaster. The first assessment has begun in Vieux Fort.

• Distribution of water, food and other items continues.

• The Youth Emergency Action Committee (YEAC) and Saint Lucia Cadet Corps reported for duty at the NEOC.

Donations

NEMO Saint Lucia has applauded the numerous donations from members of the public, corporate donations, regional organizations and from the people and government of Trinidad and Tobago and the people and government of Martinique.

Dominica

The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) in Dominica continues to coordinate the emergency response in the southern part of the island.

Affected Population:

65 households were impacted
185 persons impacted
6 homes destroyed

Critical Facilities and Infrastructure

A number of roads and bridges were damaged as a result of the event.

Preliminary Estimates:

It is estimated that EC $830,000 was required for immediate clean-up.

National Response

Dominica Government agencies were able to respond quickly and adequately to the crisis. Preliminary sector assessments are being undertaken

Immediate Needs:

The restoration of key infrastructure remains a main concern, and the strengthening of Dominica’s hydrological /meteorological capabilities is a priority.
 
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