Haiti + 3 more

Hurricane Dennis hits the Caribbean

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Washington, D.C., July 8, 2005 (PAHO) - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is assessing the impact of Hurricane Dennis as it passes through the Caribbean en route to the U.S. mainland Friday. A PAHO situation report said the storm had inflicted "significant damage" on Haiti overnight, but as of Friday afternoon, had only caused "minor damage" as it passed through Cuba.
Meanwhile, news reports said that the U.S. National Hurricane Center had described Dennis as the strongest Atlantic hurricane to form this early in the hurricane season since records began in 1851.

According to PAHO's situation report on Hurricane Dennis Friday:

  • Cuba: Minor damage is being reported as Hurricane Dennis begins to cross Cuba. The Office of Civil Defense has declared that the provinces of Guantánamo, Holguín y Las Tunas are no longer at risk and that the provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Granma are beginning the recovery process. The remaining at risk provinces continue to be on alert, with emergency preparedness measures in place. The Ministry of Health has 13 medical brigades on standby should medical attention by necessary.

  • Haiti: There have been reports of 5-10 casualties, and significant damage to agriculture, although it is reported that Hurricane Dennis has not caused damage to health infrastructure is in Haiti. Two PAHO staff are participating in an assessment mission of the affected area and will be reporting back over the weekend.

  • Jamaica: Hurricane Dennis caused severe flooding in the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Andrew and Portland. A reported 2,000 persons have been evacuated from at-risk areas and are being housed in shelters. There is no report of damage to health infrastructure, apart from water leaks in 11 hospitals. Most of the heavy rains and hurricane strength winds lessened overnight and Jamaica has moved to relief and recovery operations.

  • Cayman Islands: Only strong winds and rain have been reported to date and health infrastructure has not been damaged.
The hurricane center's lead forecaster, Martin Nelson, told the Associated Press that it was the first time the Atlantic hurricane season had four named storms this early since record-keeping began in 1851. The season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Last year, three catastrophic hurricanes - Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - tore through the Caribbean with a collective ferocity not seen in years, causing hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars in damage. PAHO helped coordinate relief and recovery efforts in affected countries following all three storms.

PAHO was established in 1902 and is the world's oldest public health organization. PAHO works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and the quality of life of people of the Americas. It serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

PAHO Member States today include all 35 countries in the Americas. France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are Participating States. Portugal and Spain are Observer States, and Puerto Rico is an Associate Member.