A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
In the wider Caribbean, Dengue fever is endemic to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The mosquito-borne disease usually appears around the beginning of the rainy season annually, with average laboratory-confirmed cases of between 12 to 20. Usually, cases disappear by around August. In 2020 however, quoting Iwitness News (a local online newspaper), August 27th, 2020, the media reported that "The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and the Environment on Thursday warned of an above-normal increase in dengue cases, and it was taking all necessary steps to prevent a severe outbreak of dengue fever in St. Vincent and the Grenadines." According to a Ministry's press release on the 28 September 20211 , reported that the country recorded 432 laboratories' confirmed cases and four deaths, prompting the Ministry to issue a warning "This increase is not typical for this period, and Vincentians are urged to take the requisite precautions to prevent further spread of the illness.” The number of confirmed cases continued to climb reaching 1,790 in January 2021, with 8 deaths. Youths and adolescents seem to be the most affected age groups, and persons in the 5-14-year age group account for most cases (40.57% on November 21st).
While responding to the worst Dengue outbreak in decades, the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines also have to grapple with two other emergencies of far-reaching public health significance – COVID19 and the effusive eruption of the La Soufriere volcano (which started erupting in December 2020).
As a result of the assessment work done by the team of volunteers working along with the vector control officers, the SVGRC was able to identify barrels as one of the leading mosquito breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This information provided the basis for the "Safe Barrel Initiative." A thorough review of the epidemiological report also helped to inform the rollout of the DREF.