Hurricane Irma: One of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic is placing thousands of children in danger.
Right now, Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm, is tearing through the Caribbean, putting thousands of children’s lives in danger.
The storm is pummelling communities with sustained wind speeds of up to 295km/h and is expected to cause flooding as high as three meters near the coasts of some islands, while torrential rain may cause flash floods and mudslides.
The massive storm has already caused widespread destruction on several island nations. The Prime Minster of Barbuda says the hurricane has “totally diminished” the island and levelled 95 per cent of buildings. Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane as it moves towards the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Bahamas over the next couple of days.
The destruction, flooding and chaos of a hurricane can leave children extremely vulnerable to injury, family separation and water-borne diseases. UNICEF’s top priority is always the health and wellbeing of children.
Although it is still early to know the full impact that Irma will have in the region, UNICEF has activated its emergency protocols. We are working with Government officials in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Virgin Islands, as well as the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba, which the hurricane is projected to hit next.
UNICEF has prepositioned emergency supplies of drinking water, unperishable food, medicine and emergency kits to distribute as quickly as possible to the worst affected communities.