Storm Fiona in Guadeloupe: PIRAC mobilized to support the affected populations - Pirac

Storm Fiona in Guadeloupe: PIRAC mobilized to support the affected populations

28 September 2022

The archipelago of Guadeloupe has been strongly impacted by the tropical storm Fiona during the night of Friday, September 16, 2022. The teams of PIRAC, the Territorial Delegation and the Red Cross establishments of Guadeloupe deployed on the territory of Basse-Terre a plurality of aid devices to support the populations impacted by the disaster. All the emergency actors are coordinating in order to bring a quick and efficient response to this crisis. 

Access to water: an emergency intervention by PIRAC 

Only a few days after the storm, PIRAC, which specialized in humanitarian response to disasters in the Caribbean, deployed a mobile water treatment unit capable of producing 2,000 liters per hour. From September 22 to 26, PIRAC distributed 27,000 liters of water to more than 200 families and filled communal cisterns in the communes of Vieux-Habitants and Vieux-Fort, thanks to the active participation of volunteers from the Territorial Delegation of Guadeloupe. 

Joël Cachera, Emergency Coordinator of Pirac, explains: “Thanks to a strengthened cooperation with the Prefecture and all the state actors and associations involved, we were able to quickly take decisions in order to deploy the water treatment unit as soon as possible. The technical process aims to draw water from a river of good quality, whose evaluation was carried out with the ARS, in order to filter it via a membrane ultrafiltration system completed with an activated carbon filter and chlorination. This light and mobile technology developed by our technical partner, the Veolia Foundation, allows us to provide an effective solution for water treatment in emergency situations.” 

Numerous damages following tropical storm Fiona

Spectacular flooding and numerous mudslides were caused by tropical storm Fiona and resulted in significant material damage, particularly in the south of Basse-Terre. One death was deplored in Rivières-des-Pères where the home of a 51 year old man was swept away by the flooded river. Many houses were flooded with the rising waters and mud. Several roads were impassable and a bridge collapsed. 

Faced with the extent of the damage, the Minister Delegate for Overseas France, Jean-François Carenco, went to the site during an official visit to meet the structures mobilized on the ground and the affected populations. He declared a state of natural disaster for 22 municipalities on the territory of Guadeloupe. 

At the height of the crisis, more than 140,000 people were without running water and 10,000 people were without electricity. Requiring the deployment of emergency assistance to help people impacted by the disaster, the Prefecture of Guadeloupe integrated Saturday, September 17 the PIRAC alongside the French Red Cross in its Departmental Operational Center. 

The Red Cross movement mobilized on the territory to bring important human and material means 

60 volunteers from the Guadeloupe Territorial Delegation and Red Cross establishments were mobilized during various operations. Thanks to the pre-positioning of emergency material of the French Red Cross Caribbean Emergency Platform (PUC) and to the food stocks of the Itinerant Social Grocery of the Guadeloupe establishments, volunteers were able to coordinate mineral water distributions in the EHPADs of Basse-Terre, Bouillante, Pointe-à-Pitre, le Moule and le Lamentin, as well as emergency food parcels and meals distributions in the cities of Goyave, Petit-Bourg and Basse-Terre, the territory’s capital. 

Access to water: several mechanisms activated to address a major problem

Several water treatment plants and many water catchments have suffered significant damage. Damage was also noted on the entire drinking water supply network.

A crisis unit and the ORSEC “WATER” plan have been activated on request of the Prefecture of Guadeloupe. One week after the passage of the storm Fiona, 60 000 people (individuals and companies) were still deprived of water in several municipalities and in particular at the Hospital Center of Basse-Terre. For these reasons, a group of actors, including PIRAC, have mobilized to meet the water needs of those affected.

  • 12 tanks of the National Reserve in Basse Terre were deployed
  • Communal tanks and hospitals have been filled, 
  • The local water production plants have distributed 458 pallets of bottled water to the population,
  • Companies transporting drinking water by tanker have been requisitioned,

A reinforced cooperation at several levels in Guadeloupe

In order to carry out the operations in the fastest and most efficient way possible, all the emergency actors have been mobilized to provide an adapted and coordinated response on the whole territory. Within the Red Cross movement, the Antilles Territorial Directorate and the Guadeloupe Territorial Delegation were among the first to intervene with the most vulnerable people.  Prefecture, municipalities, civil security, citizens: cooperation and solidarity mechanisms are at work to provide maximum support to the disaster victims. 


Nos dernières actualités

Our LAtests News

2023 key moments

2023 key moments

Whether in schools, with the general public, or with actors involved in disaster preparedness, PIRAC carried out various activities in 2023 alongside its financial and operational partners.  In 2024, PIRAC will be stepping up its activities at various levels in the...