The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has made an initial US$3.5million appeal from donors to cover short-term health care and other needs for residents in The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.
The devastating category 5 storm made landfall a week ago in northwest Bahamas.
It severely affected the health sector, with significant destruction of equipment and medical supplies and electrical and water supplies in Abaco and Grand Bahama.
The US$3.5 million is a preliminary estimate to cover short- term healthcare, water and sanitation, epidemiological surveillance and vector-control needs in the Islands most affected by Hurricane Dorian for the next six months.
PAHO noted that some 73,000 persons were affected, and there are hundreds in shelters in the disaster zone.
“While 43 deaths have been officially reported thus far, mass casualty numbers are expected to rise significantly as more areas become accessible and search and rescue operations continue,” PAHO says.
Director of Health Emergencies Dr. Ciro Ugarte at PAHO further explained, “Our priority concerns are to restore access to essential health services and continued medical care delivery, to ensure water quality in affected communities and health facilities, and to restore proper hygiene and sanitation.”
So far, 14 PAHO experts are in the disaster zone to provide surge capacity in logistics, civil and military coordination, information management, epidemiological surveillance, communications, and coordination.
The funding requests includes $1.3 million to restore healthcare delivery in affected areas, $500,000 for surveillance to detect and manage disease outbreaks, $800,000 for safe access to water, emergency sanitation and control of disease vectors.
It also includes $671,000 to coordinate humanitarian assistance and manage information to address the most urgent humanitarian needs.