17 December - Dominican Republic
As of December 17, the number of deaths associated with Tropical Storm Olga has risen to 33. More than 12,000 homes have been affected causing the displacement of more than 60,000 people, of which nearly 14,000 are in shelters. The storm has left 190 communities isolated due to damaged roads and bridges. Eight of the provinces remain under a Red Alert by the National EOC. There are several health concerns in Santiago where there is a shortage of clean drinking water and reports that some shelters are experiencing difficulties with waste removal. There are additional concerns due to the fact that people are using river water that has not been treated. SESPAS is maintaining the epidemiologic surveillance system in order to prevent diseases associated with the flooding. Public Health medical teams have fumigated flooded areas and are providing medicines against leptospirosis and respiratory illnesses. PAHO/WHO is supporting SESPAS and the Provincial Department of Health in the Situation Room in Santiago in coordination and the management of information.
14 December (update of previous information)
Nearly two weeks after the end of the official Atlantic Hurricane season, sub-tropical storm Olga was recognized by the National Hurricane Center on December 10, north of Puerto Rico. The storm made landfall on the evening of December 11 on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, south of Punta Cana. The storm passed through the island of Hispaniola, which had already felt the brunt of Tropical Storm Noel one month prior, producing heavy rains and flooding due to the already saturated soil. The storm was upgraded to Tropical Storm status before re-entering the Caribbean, west of Haiti.
In the Dominican Republic the areas most affected by the storm are to the north and northeast. The National Emergency Operations Center (EOC) declared a Red Alert for 30 provinces. River levels and dam levels are exceedingly high and are being monitored. Several rivers have exceeded capacity causing overflow in towns and causing damage to roads and bridges, causing the isolation of 189 communities. Figures as of December 14 indicate that there are 24 confirmed deaths, 20 of them in Santiago. Approximately 900,000 people have been affected in Duarte, Espaillat, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Sanchez Ramirez, Santiago, La Vega and Montecristi, Valverde, and Barahona. Nearly 9,800 homes have been affected and more than 49,000 people have been displaced by the storm.
The areas to address as a result of the storm include water and sanitation needs, shelters, and the control and prevention of infectious diseases. The Secretariat for Public Health and Social Assistance (SESPAS) is implementing a preventative program against infectious diseases in the areas affected by flooding, including a campaign against malaria. SESPAS has sent a Damage Assessment and Evaluation of Needs team to Santiago, in addition to medical teams and ambulances to handle the situation. SESPAS has also installed a Medical Center to provide assistance to those displaced by the storm in Santiago. Five mobile clinics are being installed in the north of the country to help strengthen the health system, in addition to medical staff and resources. The National Institute of Drinking Water and Sewerage Systems (INAPA) has repaired 9 systems that were damaged; however, 34 remain affected causing concern. In response to water breaches, 20 water tankers have been sent to the affected area. The storm is expected to cause difficulties for Tropical Storm Noel recovery activities. The United Nations system has reactivated emergency systems and is closely monitoring the situation. UNCT and UNETE are on alert and are preparing to deploy teams to the field to evaluate the situation.
The storm was downgraded to a Tropical Depression upon passing Jamaica and is predicted to decrease in strength. Predictions indicate it will continue on its westward tract and that high upper-level wind shear will prevent it from regenerating.
Photos from the Dominican Republic
In the last few weeks, heavy rains, landslides and floods have affected several countries in the Region (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, among others), that have caused emergency situations with personal and material losses.
In these types of emergencies PAHO/WHO recommends that the population increase hygiene measures, including washing hands with soap and water, storing food and medicine properly, and paying attention to the recommendations from authorities regarding the consumption of safe water.Read More
The final toll of Tropical Storm Isaac was two people dead in the U.S. and 24 in Haiti. In addition hundreds of thousands of people were left withtout electricity. In Haiti there was an increase in cholera cases and in the Dominican Republic hundreds of people had to be moved to shelters. Also, in the Dominican Republic six hospitals and one health center were affected by the heavy rains.Read More
The low pressure system that has hit Central America since October 10 has caused floods and landslides affecting 600,000 people in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua including 55,000 people displaced to 700 shelters in the countries. The Ministries of Health have reported damages to health centers and equipments, and loss of supplies. These issues put public health at risk if they are not addressed promptly. El Salvador has declared a national emergency, and Nicaragua and Guatemala has declared a state of emergency.Read More
The Cholera Epidemic Maintains its Hold in Haiti (10/21/2010)
Heavy Rains and Landslides Affect Guatemala (09/08/2010)
Earthquake in Chile - February 2010 (02/27/2010)
Earthquake in Haiti - January 2010 (01/13/2010)
Hurricane Ida - November 2009 (11/09/2009)
Pandemic (H1N1) - 2009 (04/30/2009)
2008 Hurricane Season (09/30/2008)
Tropical Storms of 2008 (06/09/2008)
Tropical Storm Olga - December 2007 (12/14/2007)
Tropical Storm Noel - November 2007 (10/29/2007)
Hurricane Felix - September 2007 (09/06/2007)
Earthquake in Peru - August 2007 (08/16/2007)
Volcano Tungurahua - August 2006 (08/16/2006)
Floods in Suriname - May 2006 (05/10/2006)
Floods in Bolivia - January/February 2006 (01/31/2006)
Hurricane Wilma - October 2005 (10/25/2005)
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - August 2005 (08/29/2005)
Hurricane Jeanne - September 2004 (09/18/2004)
Hurricane Ivan - September 2004 (09/09/2004)
Hurricane Frances - August/September 2004 (09/01/2004)
Regional Office of the World Health Organization