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Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 280, 11 - 15 Nov 2009

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Situation Report
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Each week, the World Health Organization Health Action in Crises in Geneva produces information highlights on critical health-related activities in countries where there are humanitarian crises. Drawing on the various WHO programmes, contributions cover activities from field and country offices and the support provided by WHO regional offices and headquarters. The mandate of the WHO departments specifically concerned with Emergency and Humanitarian Action in Crises is to increase the effectiveness of the WHO contribution to crisis preparedness and response, transition and recovery. This note, which is not exhaustive, is designed for operational use and does not reflect any official position of the WHO Secretariat.

EL SALVADOR

For more information see the WHO/PAHO web site.

- A UNDAC team was deployed on 10 November.

- Hurricane Ida also hit Nicaragua, where some 23 000 people are affected, Mexico where 40 000 persons were moved to shelters, and Honduras.

Assessments and Events

- On 7 November, Hurricane Ida caused widespread damage in central and south El Salvador. At least 130 people were killed in mudslides, 70 are reported missing and 13 680 have sough refuge in shelters.

- First assessments show a significant loss of medicines, vaccines and cold chain supplies.

- Work has begun to clear out affected zones and prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as dengue and malaria. Health authorities are also monitoring sanitation in the shelters.

- The MoH deployed extra medical staff and increased the number of hospital beds in the area to 600. Fifteen mobile health units were installed in the most affected departments to reach people in need.

- Difficult access to the most affected zones is hampering the delivery of aid.

- The Government has declared a state of emergency and requested assistance from the international community. The MoH has asked for 66 basic medicines against respiratory diseases, dengue and malaria, among others.

Actions

- WHO/PAHO has mobilized experts in crisis management, communication, logistics, mental health and logistic support (LSS/SUMA).

- WHO/PAHO also provided 100 000 water purification tablets from the regional humanitarian depot in Panama (UNHRD) and released US$ 170 000 for emergency response operations.