ADRA RESPONDS TO HURRICANE IRMA CRISIS
8th September 2017
During the last few days we have seen the devastating scenes of the effects of Hurricane Irma as it pummelled through the Caribbean Islands with winds up to 175 mph. Yesterday, the islands of St Martin and Antigua and Barbuda experienced almost total annihilation where as much as 95% of buildings have been destroyed. As of today (Friday 8 September) the Turks and Caicos Islands were also left in a trail of destruction across the Caribbean, killing at least 14 people.
Howling winds and rough seas also battered the overseas territory of the British Virgin Islands, which experienced the top-rated category five hurricane for the first time.
There has also been some damage and flooding in Haiti, which is still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Some 500,000 people have been told to leave south Florida with Hurricane Irma due on Sunday.
So far, an estimated 1.2 million people have been affected by Irma and that could rise sharply to 26 million, the Red Cross says.
There are concerns that disease could spread rapidly in areas where drinking water and sanitation services have broken down, and officials have warned that the death toll is likely to rise.
As Hurricane Irma continues to strike the Caribbean, ADRA is making preparations to respond. A new tropical hurricane, Jose, formed over the Atlantic and has already started moving along the same path as Irma.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA-UK) director Bert Smit said, "ADRA is currently prepositioning materials as well as personnel to conduct needs assessments after the event has passed. ADRA is also coordinating with the Seventh-day Adventist Church at local and national levels as well as through its worldwide network. We are also coordinating with external partners and partnership platforms to maximize our potential response. ADRA's regional surge Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have been put on alert for probable deployment pending post-event assessments."
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So What is ADRA Doing Now?
Hurricane Emergency Update - UK-ADRA Director - Bert Smit
In locations that have already been hit by Irma, ADRA is conducting rapid assessments in order to determine the most significant needs. It is anticipated that ADRA will respond in the following ways:
In Antigua and Barbuda, ADRA is in communication with the assessment team deployed by the government of Barbuda to observe and coordinate with key individuals and entities. Their rapid assessment reports that medical assistance is needed and a medical team (including ADRA) is planning to visit, pending information about Jose and when/where it will hit. Standing water is creating a hazard for the spread of disease, so insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and hygiene kits are needed. Other needs include tarps, shelter kits, and kitchen sets.
As Irma is currently over the Dominican Republic and Haiti, only preliminary reports have been received. In DR, ADRA is receiving calls from its prepositioned teams that Puerto Plata has sustained serious damage as has Samana. Populations in already-hit areas may be at risk if they begin to emerge from shelter and the water currently controlled by dams is released for mitigation purposes.
In Haiti, there is concern that cholera treatment could be affected as existing treatment centers and hospitals are either closing or insufficient to meet the need.
ADRA is also positioned in the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos to assess and respond as soon as the storm has passed.
ADRA is preparing to respond immediately as needed using its own private funding and that of the worldwide network of ADRA offices.
The UN has released funds for rebuilding in Barbuda and ADRA is part of this coordination and hopes to pursue funding there.
ADRA is currently in communication with its suppliers in the region to arrange for further stock availability as necessary.
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