Four persons confirmed dead and 241 others were reported injured. Reports are coming in about primary care centres, hospitals, infirmaries, children’s homes and shelters islandwide report relating a picture of widespread damage in the southern and south eastern region mainly.
Jamaica has 346 health centres and 23 public hospitals islandwide, and contact has not been possible with several of these. Various health centres suffered considerable damage and others are now only partially functioning because of lack of water, electricity and other necessities. From the reports received from primary health care facilities so far, there has been considerable damage to the roofs at the health centres in Albert Town in Trelawny and major structural damage to the Yallahs Health Centre in the parish of St. Thomas. Many hospitals, especially outside the Kingston area, are without piped water and must rely on tank water (see Jamaica's Situation Report of 20 August for more information on damage to hospitals).
All 13 parishes have submitted reports on shelters and the shelter population. A total of 52 shelters are known to be open, housing a population of 1,791 persons (data reported Wednesday, August 22). However, the number of persons remaining in shelters is declining and some parishes have closed their shelters. However in the parishes in the south and south east of the country, the number of persons remain relatively high.
PAHO/WHO and Ministry of Health Actions
The Ministry of Health continues to manage emergency operations form the Bustamante Children’s Hospital, where the PAHO/WHO Response Team has also set up operations. One PAHOWHO epidemiologist is compiling information at the EOC and another also from PAHO is currently in the field to establish an emergency surveillance system. A water and sanitation engineer is assessing damage and the environmental health impact to the health centre in Yallahs.
A PAHO/WHO team reports that four buildings of the Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital suffered serious roof damage. Male and female patients are cramped together in very precarious conditions. Bellevue is the largest psychiatric hospital in the region, housing more than 800 patients. The hospital has neither running water nor electricity, some water tanks were damaged and the sewerage system is overflowing. Able-bodied patients at this hospital are helping to clean the debris with the support of some staff members who have not left to care for their own homes. PAHO/WHO is assessing damage to the four hospital buildings and evaluate the possibility of emergency repairs—which will have to incorporate disaster mitigation measures.
PAHO, in collaboration with Ministry of Health, will purchase additional vector control insecticide and equipment to ensure that the gains already made in the anti-malaria campaign are maintained. Jamaica has had no new malaria cases reported in eight weeks. However, the hurricane has left stagnant water pools due to rain and storm surge are now a common feature throughout the affected areas.
Regional Office of the World Health Organization