Thus far in the 2011 hurricane season, Hurricanes Emily and Irene have had the greatest impact in their trajectories through the Caribbean and United States.
Hurricane Irene affected various islands of the Caribbean causing severe flooding in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and along the east coast of the United States. PAHO/WHO deployed members of their Regional Response Team to assist the Bahamas Ministry of Health in damage assessment and in environmental health, water and sanitation, epidemiology, vector control, hospital assessment, and coordination.
An epidemiologist helped to design a campaign to control dengue in the Bahamas and to assist in coordinating various sectors in those efforts and in strengthening the Ministry’s epidemiologic surveillance program. A specialist in dengue and another in vector control assisted in these activities. The removal of debris and waste is one of the greatest challenges for the authorities in view of the dengue outbreak in the country.
At least 11 of the 16 health facilities on the islands of Abaco, Acklins, Cat, Long, and New Providence reported damage, ranging from minor flooding to damage to roofs, electrical equipment and generators, contamination of wells, and losses in the supply of water and electricity. The Bahamas’ main hospital in Nassau was also affected.
In the United States, wind and rainfall brought by Irene uprooted trees and caused widespread flooding. Seawalls were damaged by violent waves and some 90 thousand people were without electricity.
Hurricane Emily caused major flooding in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.