Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 224, 1-7 Sep 2008

from World Health Organization
Published on 07 Sep 2008 View Original
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 internal use and does not reflect any official position of the WHO Secretariat.


Assessments and Events

- Hurricane Gustav passed over Cuba after killing at least 86 people in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica.

- Haiti's President announced that the country is facing a catastrophe after being hit by three storms in less than 21 days. Fay, Gustav and Hanna have killed more than 200 people and affected tens of thousands. At least 15 000 families are displaced of whom 6790 have found refuge in shelters. Only limited humanitarian assistance has reached affected populations so far but assessments have begun.

- In Cuba, the latest figures indicate that 250 000 people were evacuated, including more than 77 000 in Havana, 25 000 in Southern Matanzas and up to 148 000 in Pinar del Río province. Thanks to effective preventive measures no casualties are reported. More than 90 000 houses were damaged and agricultural lands were devastated. Up to 80% of Pinar del Río is without power and health facilities are reporting damage.

- In the Dominican Republic, eight people were killed and more than 6200 people were evacuated. Currently, 50 communities are still isolated.

- In Jamaica, 12 deaths are reported in 72 affected communities. More than 800 people are in shelters. Flooding is disrupting the water supply. All health systems are functioning, although two hospitals remain without electricity and three report damages.


- The WHO/PAHO Emergency Operation Centre in Barbados has been activated

- The health regional response on standby includes four disaster specialists, three SUMA (Supply Management System) experts and two epidemiologists.

- In Haiti, WHO/PAHO facilitated a Civil Protection Agency/MoH assessment with local emergency networks. Medical team and supplies are on standby.

- In Cuba, medical teams are on standby. WHO/PAHO is in contact with the MoH and the UN Country Team.

- In Jamaica, recovery activities are under way. WHO/PAHO deployed a SUMA expert and a disaster specialist.