August 22, 2007
BACKGROUND AND KEY DEVELOPMENTS
- On August 21, Hurricane Dean was downgraded from a category five to a category one hurricane on the Saffir- Simpson scale as it crossed Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and northern Belize. The storm continued across the Bay of Campeche on August 22, making landfall at 1230 hours eastern standard time near the town of Tecolutla, 40 miles south-southeast of Tuxpan, having strengthened slightly to a category two hurricane. According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Dean is expected to weaken as it moves inland.
- Impact assessments are ongoing in Belize and Mexico, but early reports indicate less damage than originally expected.
- Beginning on August 17, Hurricane Dean passed through the Eastern Caribbean as a category two storm, strengthening to category four as it moved across Jamaica. The hurricane caused damage in St. Lucia, Dominica, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Martinique. The most damage reported to date is in Jamaica.
- In response to the impact of Hurricane Dean in Jamaica, USAID/OFDA has dispatched relief commodities including 420 rolls of plastic sheeting, 6,250 blankets, 5,000 ten-liter water containers, and 2,592 hygiene kits. The commodities arrived in Kingston on August 22. The total value of all items, including transport, is more than $297,000.
- On August 22, USAID/OFDA provided $100,000 to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to respond to emergency health needs resulting from Hurricane Dean in Jamaica. To date, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $570,000 to support emergency response activities in Jamaica.
NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
|Belize|| 1,675 displaced|
658 houses destroyed
|Government of Belize – August 22, 2007|
|Dominica|| 2 dead, 30 injured|
771 houses damaged, 43 houses destroyed
| PAHO - August 21, 2007|
CDERA1 – August 21, 2007
|Dominican Republic||1 dead, 300 houses destroyed or partially destroyed, 1,600 persons in shelters||PAHO- August 21, 2007|
|Haiti|| 4 dead|
2,000 families affected
| OCHA2- August 19, 2007|
IFRC3 – August 22, 2007
|Jamaica|| 3 dead, 3,500 people in shelters|
3,500 confirmed affected in areas assessed*
| ODPEM4, August 21, 2007|
USAID Assessment Team – August 21, 2007
|Martinique||1 dead||OCHA- August 19|
|Saint Lucia||1 dead||OCHA- August 19|
*Figures based on very preliminary figures.
1 Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA)
2 U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA)
3 The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
4 The Government of Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM)
FY 2007 HUMANITARIAN FUNDING PROVIDED TO DATE
USAID/OFDA Assistance to Jamaica: $572,243
Total USAID Humanitarian Assistance to the Caribbean: $572,243
- On August 21, USAID disaster response specialists joined field assessments led by ODPEM to five severely affected communities. The teams reported extensive damage in the area of Old Harbour Bay in Saint Catherine Parish, where hurricane force winds demolished an estimated 80 percent of the houses and left thousands in need of relief assistance. These initial assessments also noted that Hurricane Dean killed three people, damaged thousands of houses, and left at least 3,500 people in need of food, water, and relief supplies. The USAID assessment team believes that the number of affected will continue to rise as results from other field assessments become available. Field assessments will continue on August 22.
- According to ODPEM, although Hurricane Dean struck the island on August 19 as a category four hurricane, the storm did less damage to the island’s infrastructure than was initially anticipated. In contrast to previous hurricanes, such as the destructive Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Hurricane Dean moved quickly through Jamaica, resulting in less heavy rainfall and landslides.
- According to USAID's disaster response specialist in Belize, Hurricane Dean destroyed more than 650 homes and displaced more than 1,600 people. However, the storm did not cause any major damage to infrastructure, and Belize’s international airport and seaports have reopened.
- On August 21, U.S. Embassy staff conducted an aerial assessment utilizing two U.S. military helicopters, to determine the extent of hurricane damage in Belize. The overflight revealed some roof and crop damage, but overall was much less than initially expected.
- USAID emergency staff are conducting preliminary damage and needs assessments in the affected areas of Mexico, but reports to date indicate that because of excellent disaster preparedness planning and actions taken by the Government of Mexico (GOM), no one died in the Yucatan Peninsula as a result of Hurricane Dean and property damage was less than expected.
- Cancun International Airport did not sustain significant damages during the hurricane, and the airport is on stand-by to receive flights carrying relief supplies in the event that the areas impacted by Hurricane Dean require assistance. To date, 85 percent of cellular communication is operating and public transportation and water services have resumed normal operations in Cancun, according to the Municipal Office of Public Works.
- As of August 21, the Chetumal Airport remained closed, and public transportation has not resumed operations.
USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
- USAID/OFDA is monitoring Hurricane Dean’s track and impact from the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Regional Office in San Jose, Costa Rica, as well as from Washington, D.C. USAID/OFDA staff are currently in Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and Nicaragua. In total, 22 USAID/OFDA emergency staff are deployed to respond to the impact of Hurricane Dean.
- Jamaica: On August 20, U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Brenda LaGrange Johnson declared a disaster due to the damage caused by Hurricane Dean. In response to the impact of the hurricane, USAID/OFDA has dispatched relief commodities to Jamaica. The commodities, which include 420 rolls of plastic sheeting, 6,250 blankets, 5,000 ten-liter water containers, and 2,592 hygiene kits, are scheduled to arrive in Kingston on August 22. The total value of all items including transport is $297,243. USAID/OFDA has also provided $100,000 to support emergency health services through PAHO and $175,000 to ODPEM for emergency relief supplies. A six-member USAID assessment team, which arrived in Jamaica on August 18, continues to conduct assessments and coordinate response efforts with U.N. agencies, Government of Jamaica authorities, non-governmental organization (NGO) partners, donors, and other disaster assessment teams.
- Mexico: On August 19, in advance of Hurricane Dean, USAID deployed three disaster response specialists to the Yucatan as well as a three-person team to Mexico City to work closely with the USAID mission, U.S. Embassy, and the GOM. The response specialists are currently conducting joint damage assessments with Mexican disaster responders. Two USAID emergency staff are traveling to areas around Vera Cruz to support assessments following Hurricane Dean’s second landfall. However, no U.S. assistance has been requested by the GOM.
- Since 2000, USAID has provided more than $142 million in response to the devastating effects of hurricanes and tropical storms throughout Central America and the Caribbean.
The Chicago storms of August 23 and 24th brought some very interesting and severe weather to the region. Here is one of the storm captured by Storm Chaser John Farley on August 24, 2007 in Madison County, Illinois
John's Report; August 24, 2007 Madison County, Illinois Chase