Twenty-three of Jamaica’s 24 hospitals are now providing full service. The Lionel Town Hospital is only one that is currently offering only partial in-patient and emergency services. One hundred eight health facilities are reported damaged, but this figure is expected to rise as the South East Regional Health Authority has not yet completed its assessment.
The risk of disease outbreaks has increased because public health measures have been compromised in priority environmental health areas such as water quality, environmental sanitation, food safety and vector control. Some areas of Jamaica still remain without potable water and electricity.
As Jamaica recovers and communications and health services are restored, more accurate and detailed health data is available. As the graph below shows, an increasing number of health and hospital sites are reporting, providing more complete information on diseases and injuries.
Injuries and Deaths
What is being reported is a combination of hurricane-related injuries and injuries sustained in the aftermath of the hurricane, as people try to clean up and repair their homes. A number of injuries were sustained as a result of falls from roofs and ladders. Six deaths were reported due to Hurricane Dean. Two were due to electrocution when people come in contact with live electrical wires and are killed.
Communicable disease surveillance also shows no evidence of outbreaks and only a small number of minor illnesses. In the meantime, several public health initiatives are being carried out. These include the food safety inspections, environmental sanitation with the provision of latrines and wastewater monitoring and clearing of waste. Comprehensive programmes to eradicate mosquitoes flies and rodents are being implemented in all parishes and focusing on most affected areas. Source reduction, larvicidal work and fogging are the priorities.
The population remaining in temporary shelters continues to fall as people return to their homes or find alternative accommodations. A residual shelter population of 529 persons in 35 shelters (down from a pre-hurricane high of 2,354 in 131 shelters) was reported on August 27.
The LSS/SUMA System (Logistics Support System), a multi-agency initiative, improves transparency in the management of humanitarian supplies. Setting up the LSS system in emergency situations enables reports to be prepared and shared with donors, authorities in a disaster-stricken country, humanitarian agencies and the media.
The LSS SUMA system is operational at the airport in Kingston. Food supplies from Brazil, mixed relief supplies from the Cayman Islands and Spain were received yesterday and logged into this system. Transportation from the airport to the ODPEM warehouse posed a challenge; and the restricted schedule of the cargo area has caused delays in unloading aircrafts containing supplies.
The ODPEM warehouse at one of the ports, Berth 11, was also opened today. The capacity of this warehouse is 32,500 sq ft, and cleanup operations remain in progress. Challenges include a lack of electricity in this section of the building and ventilation problems
Environment: Solid Waste Management
Two ‘grabbers” contracted by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) remove organic waste which resulted from Hurricane Dean’s strong winds.
The rainfall following Hurricane Dean caused challenges for solid waste workers, as organic waste became saturated and mixed with mud.
Crews from the NSWMA removing organic waste from streets of Kingston, Jamaica
A section of Kingston, where organic solid waste mixed with domestic solid waste, creating a potential for the proliferation of rodents. The NSWMA is working assiduously to collect the waste and has been asking community members to avoid mixing waste.
The PAHO/WHO Disaster Response Team HAS made arrangements with the National Water Commission (NWC) in Jamaica to truck water to four of the hardest hit communities on Jamaica’s south coast. Arrangements were also made to install three 600 gallon water tanks in each of three communities. For other communities, PAHO/WHO is arranging the delivery of 500 15-liter water containers and is working with a local branch of the Red Cross has supply water to three communities located in the Hills of St Andrew parish, which were cut off by the hurricane.