Bahamas: Latin America & the Caribbean: Weekly Situation Update (19-26 August 2019) – As of 02 September 2019

Latin America

Key Figures

  • 200MPH: HURRICANE DORIAN’S WIND SPEEDS AS IT PASSES OVER GRAND BAHAMA
  • 18-23 FT.: STORM SURGE BROUGHT BY HURRICANE DORIAN
  • 20.6K: PEOPLE ESTIMATED EXPOSED TO DAMAGING WINDS Sources:

BAHAMAS: HURRICANE DORIAN

At 12:45pm EST, Dorian made landfall as a category 5 hurricane on Elbow Cay in the Abacos Islands (pop 17,200) with windspeeds increased to 185mph. At present (2 September, 10:00am EST), Dorian is lashing Grand Bahama (pop. 51,000) with destructive wind gusts up to 200mph and storm surge of 18-23 feet.

Hurricane warnings remain in effect for northwestern Bahamas. The Bahamas Department of Meteorology (BDM) is not expecting to issue an all-clear status until 3 September.

Between Abaco and Grand Bahama, the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) estimates some 20,637 people exposed to damaging winds. PDC estimates that of this population, around 22 per cent are children under 15, around 71 per cent are people between 15-64 years old and around eight per cent are over 64 years old.

The main area of concern for Abaco is central Abaco around Marsh Harbor and northern Abaco. Unconfirmed media reports from Marsh Harbor indicate badly damaged roofing and that power lines are already down across Abaco and some roads are impassable. Flooding in Abaco is believed to have contaminated wells with saltwater. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) indicates that there are reports of massive flooding in Grand Bahama as well.

Shelter, WASH, food and early recovery have been identified as priority needs thus far. Bahamian authorities and response partners already in country are also evaluating logistics scenarios to Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Members of the Rapid Needs Assessment Teams (RNAT) began arrival in Nassau, Bahamas on 31 August and are on stand-by to be deployed into the impacted areas immediately after the all-clear has been issued.

The RNAT currently consist of 18 persons from the CDEMA Participating States, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), PAHO, Port Managers Association of the Caribbean (PMAC), Private Sector, OCHA and WFP.

BOLIVIA: FOREST FIRES

According to the Ministry of Environment and Water (MMAyA), as of 30 August, the ongoing forest fires in the eastern Bolivia department of Santa Cruz have affected 521,000 hectares of forest and 726,000 hectares of grassland, which in turn have affected 73 communities across 15 municipalities.

There 1,917 affected families across 18 Santa Cruz municipalities.
President Evo Morales announced on 25 August that Bolivia would welcome voluntary international assistance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been briefed on the various offers of support that have come in from abroad.

The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) reported a donation of US$300,000 and the provision of a concessional loan for recovery. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reports they have $200,000 available for response.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), who are providing technical support to the Viceministry of Civil Defense (VIDECI) in Roboré, pledged an initial support of some $50,000, designating $35,000 for firefighting supplies.

UNDP is able to mobilize between $100,000-150,000 to assist Government actions. FAO confirmed the availability of $500,000 for livelihoods recovery, agriculture and the environment for affected areas.

The departmental government of Santa Cruz, first response teams, volunteers and private sectors workers are currently working under a decentralized coordination structure.

VIDECI is leading operational coordination of the first response. SDC’s Rapid Support Group and an OCHA IM specialist are supporting response operations. Bolivia’s Ministry of Planning and Development have been charged with the post-fire response.

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