A- A A+

UN Secretary-General urges global solidarity, accelerated climate action after visit to hurricane-stricken Barbuda

St John’s, Antigua (7 October 2017).- ¨I’ve just witnessed a level of devastation that I have never witnessed in my life¨, said the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, during a ¨visit of solidarity¨ to storm-ravaged Antigua and Barbuda today.

Hurricane Irma, recalled Mr. Guterres, had winds of 300 km per hour for 37 hours making it the longest period ever recorded. The number of natural disasters have tripled and the related economic losses quintupled in the last 30 years. ¨The link between climate change and the devastation we are witnessing is clear, and there is a collective responsibility of the international community to stop this suicidal development¨, he said.

The Secretary-General also made a strong appeal for international solidarity with the Caribbean islands impacted by the storms, pointing out that while humanitarian aid is still coming it is not enough and that new mechanisms that would allow for an effective reconstruction and to build up resilience to future storms are necessary.

In a joint press conference, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, and Mr. Guterres pointed out that most of the Caribbean countries impacted by the storms are middle-income countries and because of that, they are deprived of the form of assistance or concessional loans that low-income countries can have access to.
 
While these countries have graduated as middle-income countries, the fact is that ¨they have a number of vulnerabilities that need to be taken into account if we want them to be sustainable as middle-income countries¨, said Mr. Guterres. In this regards, he also mentioned the proposals of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean to transform the repayment of debt in investments made by the countries in resilience to storms. 
 
The Secretary-General reaffirmed his total commitment to do everything possible to make sure that the international community fully assumes its responsibilities in support to the islands impacted by the storms, not only to face their present enormous challenges but also to allow them to fully commit themselves to the Sustainable Development Goals and to the well-being of their population.

Mr. Guterres will visit Dominica this Sunday.

Read more...

‘To deny climate change is to deny a truth we have just lived’ says Prime Minister of storm-hit Dominica

Pleading with all countries in the United Nations General Assembly – large and small, rich and poor – to come together to save our planet, the Prime Minister of Dominica, where the landscape, ravaged by back-to-back hurricanes “resembles a warzone,” said his and other islands in the Caribbean need help now to build their homelands back better.

“I come to you straight from the front line of the war on climate change,” Roosevelt Skerrit said in an emotional address to the General Assembly’s annual general debate. He said he made the difficult journey from his storm-battered country “because these are the moments for which the United Nations exists!”

Mr. Skerrit said that warmer air and sea temperatures have permanently altered the climate between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Heat is the fuel that takes ordinary storms – “storms we could normally master in our sleep – and supercharges them into a devastating force.

The most unfortunate reality, he said, is that there is little time left to reverse damages and rectify this trajectory. “We need action and we need it now,” he said.

“The stars have fallen, Eden is broken. The nation of Dominica has come to declare an international humanitarian emergency.”

He concluded by urging ownership and responsibility for perpetuating harm that desperately begs attention: “Let it spark a thousand points of light, not shame.”


Full story: http://bit.ly/2htfD1R
Video of full statement: http://bit.ly/2jZQSPi

Read more...

Critical Health Response Ongoing due to Hurricanes Maria and Irma in the Caribbean

Washington, D.C., September 19, 2017 (PAHO/WHO)— Countries in the Caribbean continue implementing critical health response actions with support from the Pan American Health Organization, which is deploying Regional Response Teams and shipping medical and humanitarian supplies to islands affected by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Heavy rain and wind continue to hit the Leeward Islands, including those already affected by Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Maria made landfall on Dominica Monday night as a Category 5 hurricane with 155-mph winds, causing heavy devastation. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in a social media post that “The winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. My focus now is in rescuing the trapped and securing medical assistance for the injured” on Dominica.

Priority needs include urgent repair and operational recovery of damaged health facilities in order to resume critical health services in the aftermath of the two category 5 hurricanes that impacted the Caribbean in less than 2 weeks. These services are badly needed particularly to manage emergency patients, to allow for quick diagnosis and treatment of communicable diseases, and to reestablish treatment of chronic and non-communicable diseases, said Ciro Ugarte, Director of the Health Emergency Department.

Hurricane Maria “could greatly impact already battered structures and debris, complicate humanitarian aid delivery, and displace more people to shelters. A quick delivery of needed supplies and human resources as well as prepositioning and preparation for the coming storm will be important to avoid further public health impact in the countries and territories located in the path of this powerful hurricane,” Ugarte said.

The deployment of Regional Response Teams to the islands includes health disaster coordinators, sanitary and health facilities engineers and epidemiologists, as well as experts in public health, information management, logistics, vector control, and damage and needs assessment.

Maintaining sanitary conditions, especially in shelters, continues to be a priority. Increases in mosquitoes and rodents have been reported in heavily impacted islands. Vector control and cleaning supplies needs list has been requested from affected islands.

Intensified epidemiological surveillance to support early detection and timely management of disease outbreaks is crucial due to lack of access to clean water, healthcare and treatment, and increase in vectors, Ugarte said. Some shelters are already reporting diarrheal and skin diseases.

Healthcare professionals are being deployed from different islands to support the needed surge in human resources. Strengthening capacity in addressing mental health in impacted populations, especially those in shelters, is important, he added.

Logistics needs include restoration of the vaccine cold chain and increased space and safety for storage of medicines and health supplies. Security issues remain a challenge in the islands in order to distribute basic supplies and deploy personnel. A quick delivery of needed supplies and human resources is important due to Hurricane Maria and other potential storms developing in the Atlantic, Ugarte added.

Requested supplies are being provided by PAHO HQ and country offices in Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago. As the needed medical and humanitarian supplies are identified by countries and shared with PAHO, they are being prepositioned in Panama and Barbados for rapid distribution in response to Hurricane Maria.

PAHO continues to assess needs of impacted countries and territories and deploy funds, supplies and human resources as needs are identified by impacted islands. As new information emerges from the field, new possible deployments may be considered by health authorities, especially after the passage of Hurricane Maria. A second round of deployments is being organized.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is coordinating emergency projects to cover medical supplies, reestablish health services, and purchase of essential medicines and medical equipment. The United Nations (UN) is developing a joint UN Response Strategy that lays out the priorities of international humanitarian agencies (UN and NGOs and IFRC), working closely with national Governments and regional counterparts including the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA.

Source:  PAHO Emergencies www.paho.org/emergencies
Read more...

Hurricanes in the Caribbean

  • 06 September 2017 |
  • Published in Notices
  • Read the latest situation reports about humanitarian assistance being provided to the countries affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria at the website of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
  • What is a Hurricane?

    When a storm's (tropical cyclone) maximum sustained winds reach 119 kilometers per hour (74 mph), it is called a hurricane. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating, or category, based on a hurricane's maximum sustained winds. The higher the category, the greater the hurricane's potential for property damage.  Hurricanes originate in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico, the eastern North Pacific Ocean, and, less frequently, the central North Pacific Ocean. A six-year rotating list of names, updated and maintained by the World Meteorological Organization, is used to identify these storms.

    (source: NOAA - Hurricane Centre) 


     

    For more information on Hurricanes and preparedness in the Caribbean go to the CDEMA website

    How you can help?

    website donation button

    Donate:

    You can make a donation to one of the country based internatoinal funds managed by the UN Foundation. The UN Reliefweb also provides information on how to donate to specific appeals by the UN following some disaster or emergency. Most times money donations help to get urgent relief items to an area faster, because it helps to buy appropriate medication, food and shelter supplies from the closest or fastest and safest or most trustworthy supplier.

    Be careful of fraud. Double check the source of information before donating. If you have doubts visit the OCHA website or contact a UN office for more information.

    Donations in kind, are also welcome. They will usually be organised by local or internatoinal NGOs or government agencies who work with OCHA to provide supply relief items. It usually takes some time before this process happens. Port facilities and services need to be functioning to make this type of aid successful. 

    Take Action:

    - Find Local or regional NGOs supporting the humanitarian assistance to areas in need: ( check back here to see an active list for Irma)

    - Contact local UN offices to find out more about volunteering or go to the UN Volunteers website

    The UN will post appeals for assistance as soon as an assessment is conducted on the impacted islands/states and based on needs.

     

     


  •  

  • Read the latest situation reports about humanitarian assistance being provided to the countries affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria at the website of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

    images


     

    How does the UN provide assistance to emergencies, disasters or hazards?

     ochaicon

    Office for the Coordinaton of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)  is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort. 

    OCHA's mission is to:

    • Mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.
    • Advocate the rights of people in need.
    • Promote preparedness and prevention.
    • Facilitate sustainable solutions.

    The humanitarian programme cycle (HPC) is a coordinated series of actions undertaken to help prepare for, manage and deliver humanitarian response. It consists of five elements coordinated in a seamless manner, with one step logically building on the previous and leading to the next.

    Core HPC Elements are:

    Needs assessment and analysis
    Strategic response planning
    Resource mobilization
    Implementation and monitoring
    Operational review and evaluation

    Learn more about OCHA and how it coordinates humanitarian assistance

    OCHA 25th aniversary logo

     

Read more...

UN emergency teams ‘on the ground’ in the Caribbean to help respond to Hurricane Matthew

5 October 2016 – In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean region, United Nations emergency response teams have been deployed to Haiti and Jamaica to coordinate rapid assessments and support disaster response.

According to a statement issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson, though the full extent of the impact remains unclear, the Haitian Government has reported that a number of lives have been lost and at least 350,000 people need immediate assistance.

The statement also noted that the UN is in contact with the authorities across the region and stands ready to assist with response and recovery if required.

Also today at a regular briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, a UN spokesperson toldjournalists that the entire southern part of the country, including capital Port-au-Prince have been affected and the south-east tip of the island suffered the brunt of the hurricane. A main bridge connecting the capital to the south was also swept away this afternoon cutting off access.

The teams have been deployed from the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), which is managed by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). On the ground, they are logistically supported by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

UNDAC is part of the international emergency response system for acute emergencies. It was created in 1993 to help the UN and governments of disaster-affected countries during the first phase of a sudden-onset emergency.

Further, in the statement from his office, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his solidarity with the people and Governments of Haiti, Cuba and other countries in the hurricane affected region.

It added said that the UN chief lauded the preparedness efforts of the Cuban authorities, media, and civil society to protect people's lives and economic assets.

In Cuba, more than 377,000 people were evacuated, 1,640 metric tonnes of food was pre-positioned in safe areas, and measures were taken to protect communities and infrastructure threatened by strong winds, rains, storm surge and floods.

In a separate statement today, President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson also expressed deep concern for the people of Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Bahamas and other countries in the Caribbean as they struggle to cope with the effects of the hurricane and offered his condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as a result of the storm.

“As a Fijian who has witnessed first hand the power and devastation of such destructive tropical cyclones, I fully empathise with those facing up to the damage,” he said, adding: “The world must stand with the victims at this time as people of goodwill everywhere recognise their suffering and stand ready to offer a helping hand.”

Read more...

UN emergency teams ‘on the ground’ in the Caribbean to help respond to Hurricane Matthew

5 October 2016 – In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean region, United Nations emergency response teams have been deployed to Haiti and Jamaica to coordinate rapid assessments and support disaster response.

According to a statement issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson, though the full extent of the impact remains unclear, the Haitian Government has reported that a number of lives have been lost and at least 350,000 people need immediate assistance.

The statement also noted that the UN is in contact with the authorities across the region and stands ready to assist with response and recovery if required.

Also today at a regular briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, a UN spokesperson toldjournalists that the entire southern part of the country, including capital Port-au-Prince have been affected and the south-east tip of the island suffered the brunt of the hurricane. A main bridge connecting the capital to the south was also swept away this afternoon cutting off access.

The teams have been deployed from the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), which is managed by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). On the ground, they are logistically supported by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

UNDAC is part of the international emergency response system for acute emergencies. It was created in 1993 to help the UN and governments of disaster-affected countries during the first phase of a sudden-onset emergency.

Further, in the statement from his office, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his solidarity with the people and Governments of Haiti, Cuba and other countries in the hurricane affected region.

It added said that the UN chief lauded the preparedness efforts of the Cuban authorities, media, and civil society to protect people's lives and economic assets.

In Cuba, more than 377,000 people were evacuated, 1,640 metric tonnes of food was pre-positioned in safe areas, and measures were taken to protect communities and infrastructure threatened by strong winds, rains, storm surge and floods.

In a separate statement today, President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson also expressed deep concern for the people of Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Bahamas and other countries in the Caribbean as they struggle to cope with the effects of the hurricane and offered his condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as a result of the storm.

“As a Fijian who has witnessed first hand the power and devastation of such destructive tropical cyclones, I fully empathise with those facing up to the damage,” he said, adding: “The world must stand with the victims at this time as people of goodwill everywhere recognise their suffering and stand ready to offer a helping hand.”

Read more...

UN Hazards and Disasters

 {module disaster_menu}  {module random disaster images}

United Nations offices in the Cribbean also provide support in emergencies or  times of Crisis. This assistance can come in the form of immeidate funds, supply of personnel, equipment, technology or even food and basic necessities. It all depends on the nature of an emergency and how much help a government requests. One of the most impacting ways the UN has been helping Caribbean States is by supporting activities that help them to better prepare for disasters.

 

UN Photo/Ari GaitanisCERF 

 One important service is the Central Emergency Response Fund or CERF. It is one of the fastest and most effective ways to support rapid humanitarian response for people affected by natural disasters and armed conflict. CERF receives voluntary contributions year-round to provide immediate funding for life-saving humanitarian action anywhere in the world.

How CERF works -

CERF pools contributions from donors – mainly governments, but also, foundations, companies, charities and individuals – into a single fund with a $450 million annual target.

This money is set aside for immediate use at the onset of emergencies, in rapidly deteriorating situations and in protracted crises that fail to attract sufficient resources.

In emergencies, humanitarian organizations apply jointly for funding. Funds are immediately released if these proposals meet CERF’s criteria, i.e. the needs are urgent and the proposed activities will save lives.

[ more information abour CERF ]

 

 Coordination of emergency response and recovery

Another important function of the United Nations is the coordination of response to disasters and hazards. The UN facilitates the receipt and distribution of humanitarian assistance across many regions in the world where critical assistance is needed.  It collaborates with a number of international organisations that wish to provide assistance such as medical aid, food and drugs, water and sanitation and so on.  The specialising agency for this effort is known as Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance ( OCHA) - its people staff come from over 30 offices around the world, some 1,900 specialized and dedicated staff work to ensure that effective assistance reaches millions of humanitarian beneficiaries in four continents.

[ learn more about OCHA

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Contact

Email: unic.portofspain@unic.org 

Telephone: 1(868) 623 8438 or 623 4813

Fax: 1 (868) 623 4332 

Address: 

2nd Floor Bretton Hall, 16 Victoria Avenue, 

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

 

 

 

  follow us on facebook
Follow us on Google  
128x128 instagram  
 Follow us Twitter  
Follow us YouTube