MapAction supports response to deadly earthquake in Haiti

Over a thousand people have died and many more have been injured in a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit on 14th August which has brought devastation to the Caribbean nation whose population is already highly vulnerable due to political and civil unrest.

The epicentre of the earthquake was near the Northern coast of the Southern peninsula where it has caused significant damage to infrastructure such as hospitals, ports and roads in areas such as Jérémie and Les Cayes. 

Initial estimates show that the earthquake has caused over 700 buildings to collapse and damaged nearly 4,000 homes, resulting in many seeking refuge in shelters and many more that have been displaced. Search and rescue teams have been deployed to find any people still trapped under the rubble.

Along with partners, including ACAPS, REACH and UNOSAT, MapAction is supporting the United Nations Office for Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) with a small team who will collect data and provide remote mapping and other visualisations of the situation to its Assessment and Analysis Cell. UN OCHA will be relying on it’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC) to coordinate its on the ground response. 

Haiti is due to be hit by Tropical Storm Grace on 17 August which will make it more difficult to reach those affected by the earthquake with shelter, food and water.

See our maps once they’re prepared.

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We’re grateful to the German Federal Foreign Office for funding this work.

MapAction supports Suriname and Guyana flood responses

Thousands of people are at risk of deadly floods in Suriname and Guyana so MapAction is responding to a request to provide rapid mapping support led by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

Both countries have seen months of extreme rainfall, leading to flooding of up to 14 feet in some areas which is making some of the roads impassable and areas inaccessible. The resulting flooding is only likely to increase during the rest of the rainy season which continues until the end of July.

The area is low lying and much of the countries’ land is only a few meters above sea level, making them two of the world’s most vulnerable countries to flooding. They also have much of their industry, including mining, close to the coast, meaning that jobs, livelihoods and accessible drinking water is being put at risk. Inadequate drainage is also exacerbating the problem in the more densely populated urban areas. 

We are supporting CDEMA with a three-person team of geospatial experts working remotely to provide maps and visualisations. We are also helping the United Nations’ Disaster Assessment and Coordination body (UNDAC) which is undertaking damage assessments and environmental management in both countries. 

MapAction’s maps and other information products relating to this emergency will be available for Suriname and Guyana as the response develops. 

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We’re grateful to The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for funding this work.

MapAction supports St Vincent volcano emergency response

MapAction is providing mapping and information management support to the La Soufriere volcano emergency on the island of St Vincent, in response to requests from both CDEMA (Caribbean Disasters & Emergency Management Agency) and UN OCHA’s regional office. 

Explosive eruptions from La Soufriere since April 9th have caused ash clouds to cover much of St Vincent, Bequia and southern St Lucia, as well large parts of Barbados.  Pyroclastic flows have descended from the mountain top, after it was confirmed that the volcanic dome had collapsed. 

Monitoring of the volcano is difficult as existing seismic stations were knocked out and it became dangerous to travel into the area. By the 7 of April, circa 16000 residents had been advised to evacuate following early signs of activity.  The incident has already caused serious need for shelter, PPE and fresh water and is developing. Flooding is now reportedly compounding the situation.

MapAction is currently supporting the situation remotely, having already assembled a dedicated team of three volunteers and one staff member, located in Montserrat, the Turks & Caicos Islands (both in the Caribbean), New Zealand and the UK respectively. All members of the MapAction team will be working remotely due to the travel and other complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are no current plans to send a geospatial team to the affected area, although two of the team are based in the Caribbean region.

The direct mission costs are being met by the German Federal Foreign Office. MapAction’s response capacity has been supported by UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and we have been working extensively in the Caribbean region on disaster preparedness work thanks to USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs. 

The mapping techniques used in the 3D web mab above are based on recent work by MapAction and the University of Edinburgh, which pioneered 3D interactive webmapping for planning and response to volcanic hazards.

Many of MapAction’s maps and other information products relating to this emergency will be available here as the emergency develops.