Intense storms over the last 8 days have affected Costa Rica’s Central /North Pacific and Valle Central regions. The storms associated with a low pressure front have caused 14 deaths, and affected more than 900 homes. There are approximately 7,500 people affected, and 1,367 people in shelters. The number of homes affected may reach 1,500 due to floods and landslides. In addition, more than 54 roads and 7 bridges have been affected causing transportation problems. The Government of Costa Rica has declared a National Emergency. There is a red alert for the following zones; Parrilla, Atenas, Nicoya, Filadelfia, Hinjacha, Liberia, Nandayure and La Cruz. There is yellow alert for Central and South Pacific. Lastly, there is green alert for Vertiente del Caribe. Some of the actions taken are; coordination with first responders and rescue squads, potable water supply, organization of damage and needs evaluation groups, acquisition of machinery to clean rubble, monetary donations, and the activation of the Emergency Operation Center and Analysis.
Ten days of heavy persistent rains affecting mainly the eastern region of Cuba has caused the evacuation of nearly 32,000 people. The record precipitations have caused flooding, overflowing of rivers and dams, and landslides. As a consequence, the affected zones have experienced interruptions in communications and power and there has been damage to homes, agriculture and roads. In the zones affected by the heavy rains, disaster contingency plans have been activated in order to preserve lives, economic resources and facilities. Evaluations are on-going, including assessing water resources as the water levels at dams are increasing and in the agricultural sector which has experienced a heavy loss in crops. Initial damage assessments indicate damages to nearly 6,000 homes in the provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo. In Santiago de Cuba several ruptures in points of the water supply system have been reported and potable water shortages are being reported in Guantanamo due to contamination. In the provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo there are damages to transportation infrastructure including roads, bridges and railroads. A medical supply company’s warehouse in Guantanamo is reporting the collapse of its roof. The United Nations in coordination with the Civil Defense of Cuba and the Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Collaboration continue monitoring the situation.
Weeks of heavy rains in the beginning of October have caused widespread flooding in Haiti. Officials are reporting 37 deaths and 78 injured. Civil Defense estimates that over 14,000 families are in need of assistance; 3,300 people are in shelters; 4,700 homes have been damaged, and an additional 1,008 have been destroyed.
The health services in Haiti remain largely operational, except in the Sud department and the community of Cavaillon, where floods have damaged the internal medicine wards in Les Cayes Immaculate Conception Hospital and one health center, respectively. Cabaret (30 km north of the capital Port au Prince) has been identified as the most affected community.
With PAHO/WHO’s support, Emergency Operation Centers throughout the country have been activated. They have coordinated evacuations, assessed damages and organized response. PAHO/WHO and the Ministry of Health are evaluating and responding to the needs. They are also replacing medicines that were lost during the floods. Coordination is taking place to assess the outstanding needs for shelters, non-food items and sanitary issues. Additional health personnel have been added to health facilities that were in need to reinforce their capacity.
Relief efforts are well under way in several areas that have been affected the most by the floods. Evaluations are ongoing and several coordination meetings have been held at the local, departmental and national levels. PAHO/WHO and the Ministry of Health continue to closely monitor the sanitary conditions in the affected areas as well as the shelters. Although most of the flooded waters have subsided, many homes and streets are in need of clean up.
As info: The internal medicine wards in Les Cayes date from 1920, they are positioned below sea level and street level. Flooding is a frequent event after massive rainfall. The hospital has a good evacuation plan in order to protect the patients from being harmed by this vulnerable situation. This plan was activated with the recent floods.
The Health Center in Cavaillon is located too close to the river and will continue to be a high risk area. A mission for that area (PAHO/WHO and Ministry of Health) will leave next Monday to find a permanent solution for this recurrent problem. At this time, small rehabilitation works are being carried out by the Ministry of Health for Cavaillon and patients are being referred to a Catholic mission in the same community. We will also visit this mission to establish their needs in essential medicines.
PAHO/WHO has emergency stocks of essential medicines and material pre-positioned in three locations in Haiti (with help from Spanish Cooperation Funds), these stocks are available for emergencies to help the Ministry of Health cope with a larger influx of patients.
Training in Mass Casualty Management, including live simulations, are regularly held in Haiti, especially in those departments that are usually affected by natural hazards. (With funds provided by CIDA).
A tropical wave affecting Central America has caused moderate rains and floods to parts of Nicaragua. There have been 13,782 people affected in the departments of Chinandega, León, Managua, Granada, Rivas, Matagalpa, and Jinotega. Two people have drowned. Reports indicate that almost 800 homes have been damaged, as well as bridges and roads. Preparation activities are being undertaken to prepare for the assistance needed by those evacuated from the municipality of San José de Cusmapa. The Executive Secretariat of the National System for the Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters (SINAPRED) is working from the Chinandega Departmental EOC. SINAPRED is supplying food, medical care, plastic tarps, transportation and fuel in order to give care to the people evacuated in the departments of Chinandega, León, San Francisco Libre, and Granada. The Local Comprehensive Health Care System (SILAS) in Chinandega has requested the mobilization of medical brigades and resources. SINAPRED has not request international assistance.