BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday September 5, 2017 – The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is on standby to help countries affected by what forecasters have described as a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 Hurricane Irma.
The Barbados-based agency said it has activated the Regional Coordination Plan.
“The regional response teams including the CARICOM Disaster and Assessment Coordination (CDAC) Team, the CARICOM Operations Support Team (COST) and the Regional Security System has placed the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU) on standby,” it said in a situation report issued last night.
“CDEMA is equipped to offer support through the mobilization and deployment surge capacity in specialized technical areas to its participating states and stands ready to respond as required.”
There is also international support, CDEMA said.
Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has confirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to the provision of two airport specialists for RNAT deployment if required; the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID OFDA) has pre-deployed personnel in some islands; the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is on standby to assist in the areas of water and sanitation, damage assessment and information management; the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has a team is on stand-by for rapid assessment; and the United Kingdom (DFID) has a ship positioned in the region to render assistance as necessary.
Hurricane Irma, carrying maximum sustained winds near 180 miles per hour, is forecast to move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early tomorrow. Destructive winds, capable of widespread tree damage, power outages, and structural damage can be expected as it passes. Storm-surge flooding, high surf and rip currents will also be dangers, and heavy rain could also contribute to flooding and mudslides.