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Tropical Storm Noel - November 2007

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After passing over the Bahamas, Tropical Storm Noel strengthened to a Category 1 Hurricane. As of 2 November, Noel was moving toward the Northeast at 17mph, with maximum sustained winds near 80mph. The Eastern-seaboard of the United States and Canada remain under alert due to winds, surge and storms from the system. A gale warning was issued for Bermuda. Noel is the deadliest storm of the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season, with 114 reported deaths in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Bahamas.

Situation Reports

 

Dominican Republic

Tropical Storm Noel caused flooding in 80% of the country. The floods caused the collapse of the water supply system and blocked access to the southern region of the country. At least 12 communities are innaccessible, there are more than 80,000 people displaced; 85 dead and 48 missing; and more than 20,000 dwellings damaged. According to different reports there are between 25,660 and 46,000 people in temporary shelters. An Emergency Health Kit to treat 10,000 people for three months, to aid in the treatment of the affected population was shipped from Haiti.

The most pressing needs include:

  • Water and sanitation
  • Food and nutritional safety
  • Vector and rodent control
  • Health promotion and social communication
  • Health response

Water and Sanitation

Approximately 40% of the water distribution system has been damaged. In normal conditions, more than 60% of the distribution system works intermittently in the country. Of the 122 aqueducts damaged, 60% were affected by the rain and 40% by electric malfunction. The water monitoring sytem, the sanitary conditions and trash collection are experiencing deficiencies throughout the country. In view of this information, PAHO has provided technical support for the preparation of investment projects. Lack of sectoral coordination of water and sanitation institutions are presenting difficulties to actors involved in the response activities.

Epidemiology

Authorities are working on a surveillance plan for shelters. Water surveillance is poor, and communications are needed for keep the population updated. There is evidence of a leptospirosis and diarrhea in some of the shelters. The shelters lack the proper facilities for the preparation of food. PAHO is supporting the formation of working groups.

 

Links

PAHO/WHO Office in the
Dominican Republic
(information in Spanish)

Photos from the Dominican
Republic

PAHO/WHO video on the
effects of the floods in the
Dominican Republic

Haiti

Tropical Stom Noel brought heavy rains and flooding to the entire Haitian territory. As of 1 November, there are 43 confirmed dead and 15 people missing. More than 3,000 families have been affected and there are more than 14,000 people in shelters. Thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed.

The PAHO team, together with the Ministry of Health focal point for emergencies, report that to date no health structure has been damaged by the floods caused by Noel. Assessments that were carried out since the rains started in the beginning of October (before Noel) show that enough medical capacity is available in those areas or it has been strenghthened since then. No request for extra help has been received, but the Ministry of Health is aware of prepositioned stocks PAHO has in Sud, Grande Anse and Ouest departments which are ready to be deployed if the needs arise to replenish stocks. MSF Belgium is active in a health center and a hospital in Cite Soleil and they report that there is enough capacity to treat patients, together with Ministry of Health personnel.

The Haitian Red Cross has deployed first aid workers and nurses to several big shelters. PAHO is coordinating with them to see whether patients need to be moved to health services or whether consultation can also be done on the spot. PAHO and the Ministry of Health have been focussing on evaluating the health situation and the samitary conditions of big shelters throughout the country. The main concern is the lack of water and sanitation. PAHO is assisting the Civil Defence and the Ministry of Health to solve this matter.

The PAHO Office in Haiti continues supporting the Ministry of Health, and has also provided transport for their Emergency Focal point to assist him in the coordination efforts.

 

Cuba

There have been no deaths or serious injuries reported in Cuba. Rainfall from Tropical Storm Noel has added to the rainfall and flooding that has been occurring in October which has damaged agriculture and has left hundreds of affected homes and towns inaccessible in the east of the country.

Cuban authorities continue to evacuate at-risk areas due to persistent rains. Areas with the highest number of evacuees had been experiencing flooding for the four weeks leading up to the storm. Reports show there are a total of 25,000 evacuees with 9,000 in Las Tunas, 6,000 in Holguin, 3,000 in Guantanamo. In parts of the country including Santiago de Cuba, there have been telephone and power service interruptions.

 

Bahamas

One death has been confirmed in the Bahamas as a result of Tropical Storm Noel. Flooding has been reported on the Andros, New Providence, Abaco, and Eleuthera Islands. Severe flooding is being reported on Long Island, Exuma, and Cat Island, with waters reaching four feet in some locations. Four hundred people were evacuated in Nassau, 332 in Abaco, 51 in Long Island and 10 in Exuma. On Friday, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) sent rapid assessment teams including Ministry of Health personnel to Exuma, Cat Island and Andros. A reconnaissance flight will take place over Long Island as the airport has been flooded. It is not known whether any health facilities have been damaged on any of the islands.

 

Related Information

 

 

 Related Publications

Management of Dead Bodies after Disasters

Humanitarian Supply Management and Logistics in the Health Sector

WHO-PAHO Guidelines for the Use of Foreign Field Hospitals in the Aftermath of Sudden-Impact Disasters

Virtual Health Library for Disasters

 

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