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Message: Tropical Storm force winds continued to impact the Northern Commonwealth of the Bahamas on Saturday, October 27. Damage assessments and relief efforts ongoing in Jamaica and Haiti.

THE EVENT:
Hurricane Sandy, the 18th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season has affected three of the CDEMA Participating States, Haiti, Jamaica and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

JAMAICA
Sandy was upgraded to a Category 1 Storm about 10.00a.m on Wednesday October 24 and made landfall in Jamaica at approximately 2:00 p.m, 5 miles East of Kingston. At 4:00 p.m, Sandy was about 12 miles North of Port Antonio, Portland, or 40 30 miles North-Northeast of Kingston. With storm force winds of up to 80miles per hour, Sandy left a trail of mainly wind damage in the central and eastern parishes. Storm Surge affected communities in the mainly in the eastern region, however not many communities were impacted by flooding. The Parishes on the western end of the island have suffered little or no effects from Hurricane Sandy.

HAITI
Hurricane Sandy did not make landfall in Haiti but heavy rains and strong winds from Sandy’s trail for the past three days have severely impacted the country. The rains are expected to continue over some areas today (Saturday October 27). Flooding is extensive and several rivers have burst their banks and flooded low-lying areas. Landslides have also occurred in some areas.

THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS
At 2.00 p.m today (Saturday, October 27, 2012) the National Hurricane Centre reported that a Tropical Storm Warning remained in effect for Great Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands. The center of Sandy, a Category One Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, was located near latitude 29.7 degrees North and longitude 75.6 West or about 245 miles North NorthEast of Great Abaco Island in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend outwards up to 105 miles and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 450 miles from the center.

The system is moving towards the northeast near 11 mph with a turn toward the north forecast for Sunday night. On this forecast track, Sandy will continue to move away from the NorthWestern of the Bahamas. Tropical Storm force winds will continue in the Great Abaco and Grand Bahama for the next few hours.

NATIONAL SITUATION:
JAMAICA

  • The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management has been issuing public advisories, press releases and situations reports on the event. Situation Reports indicated the following with regard to the impact and response actions:
  • The National Meteorological Centre issued the all clear for Jamaica at 5.00a.m on Thursday October 25.
  • The Prime Minister received an initial overview of the damage by reconnaissance flight.
  • There were a number of impassable roads due to fallen trees and flooding in some communities following the passage of Sandy. Low lying areas in the St. Mary and Portland and St Ann’s suffered flooding. One community was totally marooned by floods but the water is receding now. A few critical roads remained closed up until yesterday (October 25).

Deaths

  • One person was confirmed dead

Evacuation and shelters

  • Close to 2000 persons were in 67 shelters during the passage of Sandy with the largest number of shelter occupants (62%) in Kingston & St Andrew, Portland, St Catherine and Clarendon. By October 25, that number was reduced to 204 in 14 shelters.

Electricity

  • Some 70% of JPS customers were without power after the passage of Sandy due to downed power lines and poles, fires to utility lines and blown transformers. This number was reduced to 50% by midday on October 25, 2012.

Water

  • National Water Commission (NWC) reported that 460 water supply systems were affected by the passage of Hurricane Sandy.

Health
At least three health facilities suffered major wind damage and will require extensive repairs, they are:

  • St. Jago Park Health Centre – The roof is partially blown off
  • Annotto Bay Hospital - The roof of the male and female wards of the hospital has been blown off. Patients are relocated to a different section of the hospital.
  • The roof of the Accident & Emergency unit is leaking severely
  • St Mary Health Department – The roof is partially blown off and is leaking severely

General Response & Relief

  • Damage assessment commenced and is ongoing
  • Distribution of food and supplies is ongoing
  • Needs assessment is continuing. No formal request has been made to CDEMA at this time for assistance.

HAITI

  • According to a report from United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) the most affected departments include Ouest (Tabarre, Fond Verettes, Leogane, Anse-à-Galets, Gantier); Sud Port-Salut, Cayes, Tiburon, Port à Piments, St Louis du Sud, Cavaillon and Anglais), Grande-Anse (Dame Marie,A nse d’Hainaut, Roseau, lles Cayemithes, Pestel), Nippes (Baradères, Miragoane), Sud-est (Mapou); and Artibonite (Grande Saline, La Chapelle, Verettes). Gantier has been cut off from the rest of the country after the access bridge was swept away.
  • There are also reports of extensive damage to agriculture, livestock and fisheries. Many fishing boats have either sunk or have been swept out to sea.

Deaths

  • 44 persons were confirmed dead by Saturday October 27, and the death toll is expected to rise.

Evacuations and Shelters

  • The Civil Protection early warning mechanisms sounded alarms to alert residents to evacuate.
  • There are 21, 107 people in 158 emergency shelters as of Saturday October 2012.

General Response & Relief Efforts

  • The Government of Haiti has disbursed 897,443 USD in emergency funds for response to the disaster.
  • Damage assessment is ongoing to determine the extent of the impact.
  • OCHA informed that the US Coast Guard launched a HC-144 fixed wing aircraft yesterday (October 26) for a reconnaissance flight along the north coast and then south coast of Hispaniola.
  • International Humanitarian organizations and groups on the ground have deployed teams and supplies to support the local groups and the Government of Haiti in response and relief efforts.
  • Coordination meetings are underway to discuss the deployment of assessment missions that will take place over the weekend, as soon as weather permits.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS

  • The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has reported that there have been impacts throughout the islands of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Great Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands were still experiencing tropical storm force wind as of 2.00pm today according to the National Hurricane Centre.
  • Initial reports on the impact so far point to loss of electricity, flooding of low lying areas, minor and major roof damage across the Family Islands.
  • The Prime Minister is due to tour Cat Island, Long Island and Eluethera for firsthand assessment of the impact to those three islands

Deaths

  • Two deaths have been confirmed

Communications

  • Several areas have loss communication but efforts are being undertaken to restore.

Electricity

  • Power was loss on some islands but is being restored
  • Rapid assessments have begun by the Family Island Administrators.

Immediate Needs

  • Commonwealth of the Bahamas is currently managing the needs requirements but will be in a better position to determine if external support will be required following the assessments being conducted throughout the islands.

REGIONAL ACTIONS

  • The Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) continues to be in contact with the affected and stands ready to provide assistance as is required.
  • The Staff of the CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU) has been communicating with National Disaster Offices and receiving updates by telephone and electronic mail.
  • The Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) has been providing “Weather Hazard Briefings” for the CDEMA Coordinating Unit.
  • The CDEMA CU has also been receiving updates from the Dewetra-Caribe platform summarizing observations and forecasts for Sandy.
  • The Caribbean Development Bank has shared a letter with the Government of Jamaica offering emergency assistance.
  • CDEMA will continue to monitor the system and provide updates as necessary.

CONTACT DETAILS: The CDEMA CU 24-hour contact number 1(246) 425 0386

 

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