PAHO Responds To Countries Affected By Hurricane Georges, Makes Appeal For Emergency Funds For Haiti And Dominican Republic

September 25, 1998

Washington, September 25, 1998- The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has issued an appeal for funds to aid the health sectors of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and to make emergency repairs to health facilities in the northeastern Caribbean damaged by Hurricane Georges.

PAHO has mobilized its disaster preparedness and emergency relief experts to the affected countries, and has set up special supply management teams in St. Kitts, Antigua, the Dominican Republic and Haiti to coordinate relief supplies, said PAHO's Dr. Claude de Ville. Hurricane Georges, a Category III storm with winds over 100 mph, caused over 100 deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in major damage in its swath through the Caribbean, leaving thousands of persons homeless.

The Organization is asking for $720,000 for emergency supplies and activities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Dr. de Ville said. In Haiti, at least $375,000 is needed to buy medicines and supplies lost in the hurricane, to provide first aid equipment, surveillance, control and testing measures for water-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and diarrheal disease, and to clean up hospitals and health services affected by flooding, he said.

In the Dominican Republic, where health facilities were seriously damaged and thousands have been displaced from their homes, $345,000 is needed for medicines, insecticides, water testing equipment, latrines, surgical supplies, emergency repairs, and support.

In the Caribbean islands, several hospitals and health facilities suffered serious damage, according to Dr. de Ville. At the Joseph N. France Hospital, in St. Kitts, "It is estimated that 90% of this hospital has been lost. An engineer is now in the process of conducting a detailed survey and assessment of the damage sustained," Dr. de Ville said. Roofs that were replaced following Hurricane Luis in 1995 were all severely damaged or lost again and other areas have also been seriously affected. All 174 beds in six ward blocks had to be removed from use and patients were accommodated temporarily in a classroom.

So far, PAHO has sent sanitary, structural, and biomedical engineers to St. Kitts and disaster and supply management experts to Antigua, Haiti and Dominican Republic. "In an emergency, it's very important that we manage the inventory, classification and distribution of donations efficiently and that people not send goods that have not been solicited," Dr. de Ville said

Ministers of Health from all countries in the Americas, at the Pan American Sanitary Conference in Washington this week, approved a resolution asked the international community to "respond generously" to these urgent needs identified by the affected countries
For Further Information Contact: Daniel Epstein, tel (202) 974-3459, fax (202) 974-3143, Office of Public Information, PAHO,

Pan American Health Organization

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