Update on the disease situation in Haiti
Click here for a map of the sites affected by Gustav, Hanna and Ike in Haiti
Hurricane Ike, which passed near Haiti only four days after Hurricane Hanna and less than two weeks after Hurricane Gustav, worsened the situation in the country. Communications remain the most import challenge with roads, bridges damaged or blocked. Some areas can only be reached by helicopter. It is estimated that up to 800,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The worse affected area is the city of Gonaives which remains flooded and approximately 300,000 people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. Hundreds of houses have been destroyed. Authorities had evacuated part of the population (approximately 12,000 people) to shelters in higher ground before the arrival of the storm. Emergency health care centers were also set up to receive casualties.
The hospital at Gonaives is not functioning and health services are being delivered through those remaining Ministry of Health clinics and mobile clinics run by NGOs with medical supplies from PAHO (Inter-Agency Emergency Health Kit -IEHK-for 10,000 sent on 6 September). Some private hospitals still functioning.
The hospital in Saint Marc (110 beds – source MSF, 2004) to the south of Gonaives is acting as the regional hospital for the department.
Numerous NGOs and other agencies are preparing assessments and delivering basic necessities and health services. Daily contact with all health actors and health response coordination is being facilitated by PAHO/WHO. Two specialists are being sent to Gonaives to assist with the assessments.
PAHO/WHO has prepared a list of medical supplies urgently needed in the field. It includes surgical supplies, broad spectrum antibiotics and anesthetics. PAHO/WHO has also presented an Epidemiological Surveillance System to health partners by PAHO for rapid implementation in the whole country.
Gustav and Hanna
Hurricane Gustav made landfall on August 26 near the city of Jacamel as a Category 1 Hurricane. There are ten Emergency Operations Centers in Haiti at the departmental level. Of these, PAHO/WHO supports the management and activities of four of these (read more about how these EOCs were established in 2006). Two of the four (in Les Cayes and Hinche) remained open round-the clock during Hurricane Gustav providing information to the central EOC in Port-au-Prince.
Gustav fell in between two other storms, and the flooding in Haiti was the result of the three almost back-to-back events which included including Faye (August 16) and Hanna, the most recent event (September 2).
Official tolls (according to DPC--Haiti Civil Defense Protection) of the impact to date: 79 deaths and according to the Civil Protection 50,000 people are in shelters. These figures are expected to rise as assessments are still ongoing.
The situation in Gonaives, the hardest hit city in Haiti, is serious, but assessments continue to be hampered by the bad weather and blocked roads. Flooding has been reported in nine of the ten departments in the country. Access to drinking water is a problem.
To date, there are 79 reported deaths in Haiti and more than 1,000 minor injuries have been treated by the various mobile clinics and health centers that remain open. While presently there is no general shortage of drugs, many have lost their livelihoods and therefore have no money with which to purchase medicines. Access to free medications is only available through NGOs and aid agencies.
The hospital in St Marc (a small hospital on the coast, south of Gonaives) is functioning as the regional referral hospital for the department of Artibonite, as the hospital in Gonaives is unusable because of the floods. In fact, virtually the entire health system in the Department is not functioning, as most health centers have also been severely affected. Those few that are still functioning are being supplied with medicines by PAHO/WHO. In Gonaives, 18 patients had to be evacuated from the flooded hospital; all stocks were destroyed. Mobile clinics have been set in operation serving the area between Gonaives and Port-au- Paix.
PAHO/WHO is in daily contact with all health actors in Haiti and has facilitated logistical aspects of some of the field assessment missions. PAHO has also maintained stocks of medical kits and has pre-positioned medical and surgical supplies in the northwest Departments.
Contributions/pledges to date to Haiti Appeal
CIDA Canada Can$ 232,000
1 Inter-Agency Emergency Health Kit
CERF US$ 400,000
PAHEF 1 Inter-Agency Emergency Health Kit
SIDA Sweden SK 5,000,000
USAID/OFDA US$ 500,000
More pictures from Haiti
Regional Office of the World Health Organization