United Nations officials are flying to the Caribbean nation of Grenada, where Hurricane Ivan has wreaked a devastating toll, to assess the humanitarian needs as the tropical storm continues its path across the region.
An assessment mission led by the UN Resident Coordinator in Barbados, Rosina Wiltshire, is travelling today to St. George's, the capital of Grenada, to talk to local officials and inspect the damage.
The team will then return to Barbados tomorrow to report back to the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland on what the world body's response should be.
Media reports say at least 13 people have been killed and more than 90 per cent of the country's homes have been damaged by Hurricane Ivan, which struck Grenada on Tuesday.
While the airport at St. George's has been damaged, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) desk officer Carlos Monteiro-Pereira says part of it is still operational.
Hurricane Ivan has also pummelled Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and parts of Venezuela.
UN officials are on their way or are already in place in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, some of the countries in the path of the hurricane as it tracks north across the Caribbean, to organize preparations against the impact of the storm. Cuba and the southeastern United States are also at risk.
Mr. Monteiro-Pereira said "as the situation unfolds in the rest of the Caribbean, we might be changing our strategy to meet the changed circumstances."
It has been a busy hurricane season in the Caribbean this year, with several deadly storms striking already even though the season usually lasts until November. Hurricane Frances hit the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Florida in the US last week, while Hurricane Charley struck Cuba and Florida last month.