Hurricane Irma triggers early deployment of IHP

Published: 2017-09-07

IHP rapidly deploys technical expertise and equipment to support the United Nations Disaster and Assessment Team (UNDAC), which has been sent to the Caribbean to support the management of the response of the powerful hurricane Irma.

Irma is the largest ever registered hurricane in the Atlantic and the full consequences of its strength is yet to be seen. The devastation may be disastrous for the vulnerable island states that lies in the path of Irma. As part of the efforts to support the governments' capacity to manage this hazardous event, the IHP has sent two ICT experts from Norway to support the UNDAC-team. "Earlier experience has shown that deploying a smaller IHP support team as early as possible, even before the emergency strikes, on a no regrets basis has proved to be a sucess factor for the response" - Says Stig Rune Pedersen (Senior Advisor, DSB Norway)

The IHP has a long history and solid capacity when it comes to supporting the United Nations during disasters, including during the preparedness and early phases of a disaster situation. The IHP concept can be explained as a "help-the-helpers" concept. When the UN, through the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) recently decided to deploy humanitarian experts to the Caribbean from their UNDAC concept, they also asked simoultaneously for IHP support to complement the UNDAC team. Disaster situations like hurricane Irma often severely damage communication networks and other infrastructure which makes makes communication and transport difficult. The IHP ICT component therefore has the task to ensure that the UNDAC team has the necessary means to communicate and work effectively. The role of the IHP team is to faciliate for the UNDAC team to perform their tasks in the most effective possible manner.

The IHP decided to support the request from OCHA, and on Wednesday September 6th 2017 two experienced ICT support experts were deployed to Barbados as a first port of entry. The two experts are provided from DSB Norway. The UNDAC team also consists of one expert from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). If necessary, IHP will be able to complement the response with more resources in the coming days and weeks.