PRESS RELEASE – In anticipation of the potential impact of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti and the other Participating States of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the region’s premier institution for disaster management continues to facilitate coordination with its partners through the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM).
At the latest meeting of the RRM, which was held on Tuesday October 4, 2016 at the CDEMA Coordinating Unit, a number of the regional response teams have been placed on stand-by to assist Participating States if the need arise.
“CDEMA continues to receive regular situation reports from Haiti as well as updates from The Bahamas, and Turks & Caicos Islands, which are also threatened by Mathew
. The Regional Coordination Plan (RCP) remains activated and a number of our specialised regional response teams are currently on standby”, said Mr Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA.
The CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU), the CARICOM Damage Assessment and Coordination (CDAC) team, the Rapid Needs Assessment Teams (RNATs) and CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST) remain on standby to assist impacted States in the North Western Caribbean.
These teams are made up of disaster management specialists, military and paramilitary personnel who will provide humanitarian relief, technical expertise in conducting damage assessments and management of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in the event an impacted State request such assistance.
Haiti has been experiencing severe flooding over the past two days and reported 2 deaths associated with the passage of Hurricane Matthew.
The Civil Protection Directorate in Haiti has reported that Matthew has so far seriously impacted the South and Grand-Anse regions.
9280 persons have been evacuated and are in shelters. 425 prisoners have been evacuated to safer locations. Schools and airports remain closed and maritime transportation has been suspended.
“The overall aim is to ensure that relief and response support is provided to the impacted State shortly after the all clear has been given. The targeted time of providing the support is within 3 days of the all clear”, noted Ms Joanne Persad, Programme Manager Preparedness and Response, CDEMA. “CDEMA along with its partners stand ready to provide assistance to any of its Participating States upon their request”, she added.
The Tropical Storm Warning for Jamaica has been discontinued. While Jamaica has been spared the brunt of Hurricane Matthew, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) along with the Parish and Sector EOCs remain activated. Assessments of the impacts are being undertaken including on-going distribution of relief supplies and clearing of blocked roads.
The NEOCs and District EOCs are also activated in The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) in anticipation of Matthew, which is projected to impact these islands Wednesday through Thursday. Evacuation of the elderly and persons with disabilities has started in The Bahamas.
CDEMA continues to facilitate daily briefings, which are supported by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) with its RRM partners in the North-Western region.
The briefings are also used to inform the operational scenarios for each State. A briefing was held today, Tuesday October 4, 2016. So far, the following actions have been undertaken by the regional and international partners:
- International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) by activating its Contingency Plan and have pre-positioned staff in Haiti and Jamaica.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has deployed its United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) members to Jamaica and Haiti while the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) has 3 persons on the ground in Jamaica; 3 persons deployed to the Bahamas and 3 additional persons on standby to support public health and medical needs.
- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) has strengthened its representation in Bahamas, and Jamaica and has a team in Haiti. OFDA has also confirmed its arrangements for providing support to the RRM through aerial reconnaissance.
- The Regional Security System (RSS) has made contact with Military and Police Chiefs in the countries and the CARICOM Battalion and the RSS Airwing remain on alert.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) has activated measures for preparedness.
- The European Commission Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) is actively monitoring the system and is prepared and ready for deployment.
- The British Guard Ship, RFA Wave Knight, is standing ready to support the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) should the need arise. The ship is manned with a well abled crew and resources to facilitate response and relief efforts. Should TCI, or any of the other British Overseas Territories not require the assistance of the Guard Ship, their response and relief efforts will be made available to an impacted PS upon request.
Discussions will continue with the RRM partners and the National Disaster Offices as Hurricane Matthew continues its path throughout the region.