1.0 The Situation:

Hurricane Matthew, the 5th named hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season, was formed near the Windward Islands on September 28, 2016. As a Tropical Storm, Matthew impacted Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday September 28, 2016. As a Hurricane, Matthew impacted Jamaica on the 3rd; Haiti on the 4th and The Commonwealth of the Bahamas during 4th - 6th October, 2016.


Matthew provided significant impact to Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with maximum sustained winds up to 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher gusts and subsequently severe impacts to The Bahamas as a Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph.

1.1 The Impact in Haiti

The ten (10) departments of Haiti were affected, but in particular Grand'Anse, Nippes and Sud (South). Significant impacts were reported in the areas of Sud, specifically Les Cayes and Grand'Anse specifically Jérémie. The Government of Haiti reported that Hurricane Matthew resulted in 546 deaths; 1,410,774 persons being in urgent need of humanitarian assistance at the height of the emergency and 120,000 families had their homes destroyed or damaged.

2.0 Regional Response

The Regional Coordination Plan (RCP) was activated on Tuesday September 27, 2016 and the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) initiated the deployment of teams on Friday October 7, 2016. The RRM is an arrangement for the coordination of disaster response among CDEMA Participating States, and Regional and International Agencies. The RRM is coordinated by the CDEMA Coordinating Unit through the Regional Coordination Centre in Barbados.

A 30-person CARICOM Contingent, comprising the CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST), the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU) and personnel from the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF), was deployed to Haiti to provide relief to the affected populations in Les Cayes and Jeremie, and support to the coordination of emergency response. The Contingent had a mandate to support the rehabilitation of selected schools in these towns.

The COST support was deployed to Haiti on 7th October, 2016, while the CDRU and JDF members joined the Contingent on October 20th, 2016. Deployment of the CDRU and JDF personnel was facilitated by the Regional Security System (RSS) and the Government of Jamaica. The CARICOM Deployment team completed activities on November 14, 2016 and re-deployed on November 16, 2016 with the support of the RSS Air wing.

2.1 Haiti

CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST)

At the request of the Government of Haiti, and based on priority needs identified, Emergency Operations support was provided through the CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST). In accordance with the Regional Disaster Response Support Doctrine, the COST was developed as the instrument to sustain the National EOC, where the capacity of a National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) was overwhelmed, and assistance was required to support the national level coordination. The COST provides surge capacity to the NEOC and provides direct support to the impacted State within 24-36 hours after the initial impact. COST members help to operate the EOC, compile data, generate information, coordinate resources both external and internal, as well as generate reports.

The COST team supported Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) coordination in Jérémie and Les Cayes, two towns most affected by Hurricane Matthew. The team was led by CDEMA and supported by technical personnel from the CDEMA Participating States of Saint Lucia, and the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

2.2 CARICOM Relief and Early Recovery Intervention

A high level delegation visited Haiti on October 11, 2016 and the Bahamas from October 12-13, 2016. The delegation discussed support with the leadership of the affected States and confirmed additional areas where the Community could provide support. Members of the delegation included:

  • The Honourable Roosevelt Skerritt, Prime Minister of Dominica and Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of Caribbean Community
  • Ambassador Irwin LaRoque, Secretary General of CARICOM
  • Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA
  • Honourable Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture St. Vincent and the Grenadines supported by a technical representative from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Dr. David Farrell, Principal of the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, who joined specifically for the Haiti segment.

Emerging from the high level dialogue, additional support was recommended for Haiti that focused on providing targeted assistance in a specific geographical locale and for a specific purpose. As such the CARICOM support was concentrated in the Sud Department, specifically in Les Cayes and Jérémie.

Approximately USD$ 53,000 of emergency relief supplies, sponsored by CARICOM, were delivered to Haiti on October 19, 2016. The supplies included tarpaulin, water, protein, starch, hygiene products and supplies for babies. The shipment was organized by CDEMA, through the collaborative efforts of the CDEMA Coordinating Unit and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Jamaica, and transport of the relief items into Haiti was facilitated by the Government of the United States of America.

The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica shipped two 20 ft containers of relief supplies to Haiti and provided cash donations to support CARICOM efforts. The Government of Jamaica also shipped two 20 ft containers of relief supplies donated by the people of Jamaica.

In addition to donated items, supplies were also purchased in the affected areas of the country, to generate economic activity and support the recovery of livelihoods. Where possible and appropriate locals have been engaged to support the work and provided a stipend (to contribute to the financial and psychological recovery of affected residents).

Table 1: Summary of CARICOM Support to Haiti

  Intervention Summary Status
1. Rotation of COST personnel for a period of 2-3 weeks to support the EOC in Les Cayes and Jérémie Completed. October 7 - 19, 2016
2. Provision of Relief Supplies and accompanying logistics teams from the Caribbean region through the disciplined forces such as the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU)
  • US$53K in relief supplies provided to Haiti by CARICOM through CDEMA and facilitated by the Sub-regional Focal Point Jamaica
  • 805 family relief packages distributed in Les Cayes by CDRU
  • Four (4) 20ft containers dispatched to Haiti representing gifts from the Government and people of Jamaica (2 X 20ft containers); and Dominica (2 X 20ft containers)
  • Relief items in the above containers are destined for Les Cayes and Jérémie
3. Support for Education. This is intended to be a legacy intervention which will result in repairs to at least two (2) schools and a feeding programme for the children for a period of two (2) weeks
  • Les Cayes: Repairs completed at The Ecole Nationale De Sicard de Pelerin. School handed over on Monday November 14, 2016
  • Jeremie: CDEMA in dialogue with a local partner to facilitate a CARICOM contribution to the repair of a school in this geographical location. Proposed US$60K contribution.


Please click here for Appendix 1 which summarises pledges and donations of support to Haiti and The Bahamas as of November 18th, 2016.

Further to the conclusion of the CARICOM intervention on November 16, 2016, the Regional Response Mechanism is hereby stood down. This is the final situation report from CDEMA on Hurricane Matthew.

CONTACT DETAILS: The CDEMA CU 24-hour contact number 1 (246) 434-4880