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The 2017 hurricane season is causing unprecedented levels of destruction across the Caribbean. It has already devastated the lives of millions of people, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and displaced.

Irma, a category 5 hurricane, the most powerful ever recorded over the Atlantic. It wrought havoc on many of the Caribbean islands, with maximum sustained winds of 296 km/h and deadly waves.

Irma was swiftly followed by Hurricane Jose, which affected Antigua and Barbuda. And just days later, Hurricane Maria, a category 3 hurricane, threatened areas affected by Irma and Jose. Maria is gaining force and has already had a devastating effect on Dominica and Puerto Rico.

OCHA continues to work with humanitarian partners and local governments throughout the region to ensure the most urgent needs are met.

Hurricane Maria

Tropical Storm Maria has been upgraded to a category 3 hurricane as of Monday 18 September. It constitutes a potential threat to the area previously affected by Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Maria continued moving west-northwest over the Caribbean Sea, gaining force. Its center passed south of St. Croix island (US Virgin islands) early in the morning of 20 September. It then continued moving towards Puerto Rico as a category 5 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 270 km/h. It is forecast to make landfall along Puerto Rico, near Yabucoa city at around 12 UTC on 20 September.


Hurricane Irma

Irma made landfall on north-east Caribbean islands during the early hours of 6 September, affecting Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, St Barthélemy, St. Martin, the Virgin Islands and other islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It dissipated over the south-eastern United States on 12 September and is no longer a threat to islands in the Caribbean. Critical supplies and support were immediately delivered around the clock.

Cuba withstood damage to 13 of its 15 provinces, reporting devastating damage to agriculture, water supply and telecommunications.

Response to date

Humanitarian partners continue to work and coordinate with regional organizations and local governments throughout the affected countries, as needs assessments continue to reveal the range and depth of Irma-related needs.

On 14 September, a Regional Response Plan was launched. It requires US$15.1 million to address the most urgent needs of an estimated 265,000 affected people until December 2017, and $11.9 million for complex logistics and communications assistance. It will support the regional effort to respond to the most urgent needs, such as re-establishing health and education services, ensuring access to safe water and sanitation, outbreak prevention and control, providing shelter, and coordination services.

On 19 September, the United Nations system in Cuba launched an Action Plan seeking $55.8 million to address the urgent needs of 2,151,080 people severely affected by Hurricane Irma in the 33 most affected municipalities.

How to help

Donate to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Your support will enable the international community to assist people in need.