Barbados, September 30, 2016 – A meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Development Partner Group – Disaster Management (ECDPG-DM) was convened at the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) on Thursday September 29, 2016 to discuss the impact caused by the passage of Tropical Storm (TS) Matthew. Thirty-five (35) members representing various regional and international development agencies were present to receive a preliminary impact assessment provided by CDEMA. This was based on national situation reports received to date, current population data and potential impact. The latest briefing on TS Matthew was also provided by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).
On Thursday September 29, 2016, TS Matthew developed into a category 1 hurricane as it moved west over the eastern and central Caribbean sea. Matthew continues to strengthen as a major hurricane, and given the projected path, now presents a threat to the CDEMA Participating States of Jamaica, Haiti, Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and Bahamas.“We have made contact with our Participating States in the projected path of Hurricane Matthew including Jamaica, Haiti, Bahamas and the TCI to ascertain the state of readiness and pre-impact needs. We also held discussions around confirming possible scenarios. The possible impact to these countries could be enormous given the current and growing strength of this system”, said Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA.
Matthew is the 13th named storm of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season and was formed as a Tropical Storm near the Windward Islands on September 28, 2016. TS Matthew impacted Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday September 28, 2016. Heavy rains and strong winds were experienced in these countries over a period of 24 hours, resulting in flooding, landslides and some damage to infrastructure. There was one report of fatality in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Saint Lucia suffered most in terms of damage to residential homes and businesses, blocked road ways and severe flooding at the Soufriere Hospital, which was relocated to the Environmental Health Building at Deliau Street, Wingsville. 133 persons were also reported in shelters throughout the island.
While there were no immediate needs identified by the impacted States, the ECDPG-DM remain proactive and stand ready to offer assistance where required. The preliminary impact assessments and needs analysis are currently being conducted by all countries, which could further indicate areas for assistance. The Regional Security System (RSS) has been monitoring the passage of the system and informed that an RSS C26 aircraft would fly reconnaissance flights to assist in the evaluation of damage for Saint Lucia, Dominica and other Windward Islands countries as may be required.
CDEMA’s regional response teams remain on standby including the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU), CARICOM Disaster Response and Assessment Coordination Team (CDAC) and the CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST) and the Rapid Needs Assessment team (RNAT).