Hurricane Irma turned into a powerful category 5 hurricane and has already affected various Eastern Caribbean islands, Hispanola and Turks and Caicos and is currently affecting Cuba and the Bahamas and is in route for the United States. Irma has since been downgrade to category 4, but is still considered a massive storm and is expected to continue to cause significant damage.
Hurricane Jose, a category 4 hurricane is following just a few days behind Irma, but is beginning to shift north as it enters the Caribbean.
The hurricanes have brought strong winds, heavy rains and a storm surge that raised water levels. The hurricane has led to flooding, electricity and water shortages, and damages to road and communication infrastructure, buildings and agriculture.
About sixty-five thousand people were affected across the western sector of the Caribbean, excluding countries with WFP presence (Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti). The most vulnerable populations will need critical lifesaving food assistance in the aftermath of the hurricane. WFP assessments and United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams will support governments to determine the exact impact of the hurricane and inform the geographic targeting of food assistance.
Under this operation, WFP plans to provide an immediate food assistance through High Energy Biscuits (HEBs) to support 8,500 people. Country level targeting will be adjusted based on further clarification of needs. WFP will deploy its emergency programme staff to the affected countries to complement Supply Chain and Emergency Telecommunications teams deployed through a Special Operation. Combined, these teams will assist in the damage and needs assessment, management of food assistance and provide supply chain support.
Immediate food assistance in form of HEBs will be airlifted from Haiti to Turks and Caicos for further distribution in the Caribbean according to the needs determined for each location. Turks and Caicos will potentially serve as the main WFP hub for the western portion of the Caribbean to ensure coordination with the UN System, CDEMA and other actors.
The IR EMOP will be implemented from 11 September to 10 December 2017.