Barbados, October 1, 2016 – Preparations have begun in Jamaica and Haiti in anticipation of the impact of Hurricane Matthew. Residents have been advised to evacuate low lying areas as Matthew approaches with very high winds and intensive rainfall. This was highlighted during the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) briefing for the North-Western countries held on Saturday October 1st 2016.
Hurricane Matthew remains a powerful category 4 hurricane moving in a westerly direction over the Caribbean Sea. A hurricane warning was issued for Jamaica and a hurricane watch is in effect for Haiti. According to the National Hurricane Centre, Miami, Florida, interests in The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) should continue to monitor the progress of Matthew.
An updated operational scenario was shared by CDEMA as well as some indicative projections based on the impacted population for Jamaica (based on national projections), Haiti, Bahamas and the TCI.
Speaking at the briefing, Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA said, “This is perhaps the first time since (Hurricane) Gilbert that we have seen a storm of this strength passing through our region. We are going to be dealing with populations in our countries who may not be as familiar with this kind of impact. It will require all of us at both the national and regional level to work together to ensure that all of our Participating States navigate through the scenarios we’re faced with.”
A number of the regional and international development partners including the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), World Food Program (WFP), Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the United States Agency for International Development – Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID-OFDA) and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) provided updates on current actions being undertaken and potential support to the impacted Participating States. The Regional Security System (RSS) has made contact with the Military and Police Chiefs in the region and has also placed on standby the CARICOM Battalion. The RSS Air wing is ready and willing to assist in aerial reconnaissance if necessary.
CDEMA continues to monitor the system and will convene another briefing on Sunday October 2nd, 2016.