Hurricane Irma, category 5 storms in the Atlantic Ocean made landfall on the islands of the Caribbean through 7 to 10 September 2017. Whilst full extent of the damage is still unknown, estimated 1.2 million people have been affected, and 70-90 percent of houses and buildings have been badly damaged in the islands due to storm surge, high waves and hurricane-force winds causing severe flooding, mudslides and flash floods. Basic infrastructure have been severely affected, especially in Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Guadeloupe, the British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Sint Maarten, St. Kitts and Nevis and Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for which assessments are ongoing.
As of 6 September, OCHA had deployed a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team to Barbados to support Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in the regional response across the Caribbean. A large supply chain operation in coordination with CDEMA, different international, regional and national organizations and the United Nations System is anticipated to ensure access to the affected population.
Through this Special Operation, WFP, in its capacity as Logistics and Emergency Telecommunications Cluster lead, and with its supply chain expertise in the area of aviation and shipping, aims to support the national government response to the emergency in the region by delivering the life-saving relief items, and providing access to the affected people. The Special Operation also aims to support CDEMA and Office of Disaster Preparedness Emergency Management (ODPEM) of the Government of Jamaica for enhancing their preparedness capacity for the hurricane season.
The special operation thus provides for:
- Logistics sector coordination, GIS mapping and information management for the logistics response;
- Logistics augmentation including: Setup of a coordination hub in TCI and in Antigua supported by its supply chain support office, as required, respectively in Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe for additional storage and cargo reception facilities, sea cargo services using a coastal vessel and a landing craft, possible air service support (cargo and passengers), for an initial period of one month, and assessments for emergency infrastructural repairs for emergency access;
- Additional storage of appx. 8,000 mt and transport services to different hubs to support delivery of humanitarian food and non-food items to the affected population;
- Provision of emergency telecommunications required for the humanitarian community;
- Supply chain coordination activities in Barbados through establishment of a liaison office to augment CDEMA’s emergency preparedness and response capacity while supporting Antigua hub’s operations;
- Provision of support to Office of Disaster Preparedness Emergency Management (ODPEM) of the Government of Jamaica;
- Regional airlifts of NFIs from UNHRD Panama to the affected areas or to hubs, and deployment of Rapid Response Team (RRT)