Haiti Earthquake Update #8 CARICOM’s front line response in Haiti providing health services and search and rescue support


Monday, 18, January, 2010

MESSAGE: 7.0 HAITI EARTHQUAKE UPDATE #8 CARICOM’s front line response in Haiti providing health services and search and rescue support (As at 15:30 hrs, January 17, 2010)


Port-au Prince, the capital city of Haiti has been devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake which struck the island on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. Damage has been of catastrophic proportions with almost 80 percent of the structures in the capital destroyed. There has been significant loss of life and it is estimated that approximately three (3) million people (or one third of the population) has been affected. An aftershock measuring 4.6 magnitude was reported to have been felt this afternoon.


The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), leading the CARICOM Response in Haiti, has identified areas that have been severely affected and have not received humanitarian support. Additionally, the distribution of supplies is being challenged by limited transport and limited fuel supplies.

Search and Rescue efforts are continuing despite the passage of the critical 72 hour period but are reportedly hampered by inaccessibility to areas, lack of heavy duty equipment and limited fuel supplies.

CARICOM support teams are communicating via email, satellite phones and VHF radios even as overall communication in Haiti remains a major challenge.

According to the Haiti Ministry of the Interior, Department of Civil Protection: many injuries, deaths and loss of homes are reported from Leogane (1,300 injured, 581 deaths), Petit Goave (2,000 injured), Grand Goave (3,000 injured, 14,000 homeless, and Gressier (80% of homes destroyed.

There has been an influx of people to Gonaive, San Marc and Jiman. Local hospitals are overwhelmed.


The airport in Haiti is open for daytime operations and at this time entry is restricted to military and humanitarian flights. There is no possibility of any over-flights due to very limited staffing.
Refueling options at Port au Prince Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport (MPTT) are uncertain. Once (if) the ground stop is released, aircrafts filed for MPTT should plan at least one hour of holding fuel and enough extra fuel to get to a secondary airport after departing.

The Port is currently non-operational.

Availability of ground transportation in Haiti is a challenge for rescue operations. The main access road into Port au Prince has been cleared and is open. Secondary roads are still blocked. The road from Jacmel to Port au Prince is passable for "all terrain" vehicles (i.e. 4WD). The road from Santo Domingo to Port au Prince is becoming congested as much cargo is already moving.


The Tactical Advance Party (TAP) for CARICOM arrived in Haiti yesterday and met with the Cabinet Minister of the Interior Ministry Mr. Pierre Andre Paul to discuss Haiti’s immediate needs and CARICOM’s proposed responses. The team is also liaising with international donor and response agencies providing humanitarian support to the Government of Haiti.

Logistical arrangements on the ground are being advanced to strengthen CARICOM’s front line response through Jamaica, the Sub Regional Focal Point, which is being executed as follows:

1. Medical staff are performing minor surgeries and procedures at the Bernard News Hospital and the Freres Community Hospital in Haiti.
2. Firefighters from the Jamaican Fire Brigade assembled into two teams are performing Search and Rescue missions under the auspices of the International Search and Rescue Association located at the Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport. Preliminary reports indicate that three people have been rescued by the team so far; and
3. CARICOM’s Contingent members are performing security tasks associated with search and rescue and medical intervention missions.

The CARICOM Secretariat facilitated a web based conference today with the Bureau of CARICOM Health Ministers comprising the Honourable Leslie Ramsammy of Guyana, Honourable Donville Inniss of Barbados, Honourable Anne Peters of Grenada and CDEMA and PAHO to discuss the further actions for implementing the CARICOM health intervention in Haiti. This will be further elaborated through a web conference involving Ministers of Health and Chief Medical Officers of CARICOM states tomorrow Tuesday, January 19, 2010.

The outcomes of this web based conference will be shared with National Disaster Coordinators of CDEMA Participating States at a teleconference immediately thereafter where the logistical details and country pledge assistance for the delivery of the intervention will be advanced.
Director of National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) in Saint Lucia Ms. Dawn French will be deployed to Haiti tomorrow January 19, 2010 to provide Emergency support to the Emergency Operations Centre in support of the Civil Defence Commission in Haiti.

Arrangements are currently underway to facilitate deployment of the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU) into Haiti on Thursday 21, January 2010. The CDRU is estimated to comprise thirty-one (31) members from the CDEMA Participating States, namely Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Areas of critical need are being identified.

CDEMA continues to communicate with the JDF and the Department of Civil Protection in Haiti following the initiation of contact on January 14, 2010 and the Tactical Advance Party (TAP) who are currently in Haiti. HAM Radio communication although limited, is being monitored with the support of the Barbados Amateur Radio Society who is keeping CDEMA updated on critical information as it emerges.


Pledges continue to be received:

The Virgin Islands UK has pledged US$80,000.00 to the Haiti relief activities.

CONTACT DETAILS: The CDEMA CU 24-hour contact number is (246) 425 0386.

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