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Hurricane Emily - July 2005

Hurricane Emily

Situation Reports

Hurricane Emily was an unpredictable storm from the beginning. It struck Grenada as a category 1 storm on July 13 causing damage to many of the same health facilities damaged by last year’s Hurricane Ivan. Other Caribbean countries were spared devastation by Emily, which passed over the Mexican Yucatan peninsula as a category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds, and, according to preliminary reports, caused less damage than anticipated. Mexico’s Gulf coast states are bracing for a direct hit on Wednesday.

Grenada

18 July 2005

15 July 2005

This is the second year in a row that Grenada has experienced a direct hurricane hit and many residents, who are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Ivan last year, were not thoroughly prepared for the early start of this year’s hurricane season. Preliminary reports indicate that some repairs made in the wake of last September’s Hurricane Ivan withstood the force of the storm. The following damage to the health sector has been reported.

  • At the Richmond Home for the Elderly, one third of the roof (the northern part) was torn off and lost. The windows were damaged and water penetrated the facility, soaking patients and beds. Persons on the top floor had to be relocated to the ground floor. The repairs to the Richmond Home undertaken last year in the wake of Hurricane Ivan with the cooperation of the Guyana Defense Force, were temporary in nature. The Richmond Home is not part of the post-Hurricane Ivan World Bank Reconstruction Project and no funding is available for permanent repairs to the 100-bed facility for chronically ill or handicapped patients. The situation at the Home continues to be critical due to the congestion in which the patients are living.
  • The roof of the Princess Royal Hospital in Carriacou sustained damage in five areas. It lost all of its galvinized roof and part of the roof’s wooden structure. Patients were previously discharged with the exception of one who was relocated to the Accident and Emergency Section and five patients were relocated to the St. Georges Hospital before the hurricane struck. The galvanized roof that was set last year after Hurricane Ivan was torn off by Emily and all patients had to be evacuated. No damage to equipment or pharmaceuticals was reported. The Princess Alice Hospital is the only hospital serving northern Grenada. The hospital is still partially functioning on the standby generator, as electricity lines to the hospital were damaged. PAHO/WHO international health services experts will discuss strategic capital investment projects with the Ministry of Health and the possible redirection of funds pledged in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.
  • The St. George’s Hospital suffered damage to the operating theatre, the roof is leaking and the facility was flooded when windows were blown away. The Duncan Ward of the St. Georges General Hospital, which was retrofitted several years ago, withstood damage for the second time, as was the case last year following Hurricane Ivan. There was some minor leaking as water entered through windows. The laboratory was protected with anticipation and there is no report of damaged equipment. At this time the hospital is fully functional.
  • Mount Gay Psychiatric Hospital: No reports of damage.
  • Central Medical Storeroom: No reports of damage
  • Cadrona and Hilarian Homes for the Elderly lost their roofs.
  • 45 shelters are open with 1600 persons; shelters at Marian and Montoute lost their roofs.
  • Health Centres: St. David’s Health Center lost some galvanized roofing. Other Centres either suffered no damage or are in the same state as after Hurricane Ivan.

 

Mexico

19 July 2005

Hurricane Emily passed over Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula on July 18 as a category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds, causing less damage than was initially anticipated. An unfortunate helicopter accident in the Gulf of Mexico prior the hurricane’s arrival resulted in two deaths, but no additional deaths were reported once the storm struck. Most of those who were evacuated (nationals and tourists) have returned.

Mexico’s Secretary of Health is participating in a damage assessment and visiting shelters in the Yucatan peninsula. According to government sources, some 50,000 people were evacuated and 23,500 were temporarily in shelters. Health officials are monitoring a potential increase in cases of dengue and are taking necessary precautions.

To date, the Mexican Government has not requested assistance from international agencies.

As Hurricane Emily crosses the Gulf of Mexico with winds up to 100 mph and on a direct course to strike the northern states Mexico on Wednesday, health authorities will monitor the impact on health facilities and water quality.

More information on Hurricanes and Floods

- Natural Disasters – Protecting the Public’s Health
 http://www.paho.org/english/dd/ped/sp575.htm

- Disaster Mitigation in Health Facilities--Wind Effects
 http://www.disaster-info.net/viento

- Manual de evaluación de daños y necesidades en salud para situaciones de desastre / Damage and Needs Assessment in the Health Sector in Disaster Situations (SPANISH ONLY)
 http://www.paho.org/spanish/dd/ped/edan.htm

 


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