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Hurricane Frances

Hurricane Dennis in Cuba
Situation Report - 11 July 2005

Description of the event

Hurricane Dennis, a category 4 hurricane, affected approximately 600 square km. of Cuban territory and caused sea surges, landslides, and severe flooding. The most affected provinces are Granma, Cienfuegos, Havana, Cuidad de la Habana, Matanzas, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Ávila, Camaguey, and Santiago de Cuba. An estimated 8 million people in 11 provinces were directly exposed to the Hurricane.

Impact of Hurricane Dennis in Cuba

1. Environmental

Major damage is reported to the agricultural sector due to floods and strong winds. The principal damages are in the cultivation of fruits, tubers and vegetables. An estimated 31,316 dwellings were affected by the storm and 2,327 were destroyed..

2. Goods and Services

Several communication channels were destroyed along the south road connecting Santiago de Cuba and Granma. Telecommunications have been interrupted in Vía Niquero and Pilón as well as in the cities of the provinces of Santiago of Cuba, Granma, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritu, Matanzas; electric power has been cut in many cities of the country as a preventive measure. Damage is being repaired.

3. Impact on the population

Dead: 10
Wounded: still no information
Missing: still no information
Evacuated people: 1,535,545 people
Number of shelters: 1,804
People in Shelters: 687,941 people
Health Services Infrastructure: two or more provincial hospitals

Actions carried out by PAHO/WHO

  • Participation in an interagency meeting and provision of information on the state of health.
  • Availability to participate in interagency field visit.
  • Collaboration with Cuba’s Latin American Center for Disaster Medicine relating to logistical support.
  • Collaboration with the Ministry of Health on information requests.
  • Requests for information to the Focal Points of Decentralized Technical Cooperation in Cuba.
  • Activation of response mechanisms for the PAHO/WHO Representation (PWR) in Cuba.
  • Activation of the Situation Room in the Information and Knowledge Management Unit of the PWR/Cuba.
  • Mobilization of a PAHO disasters expert to Cuba.
  • Updating of the Internal Safety and Emergency Plan and preparation of the initial guidelines of an External Response Plan to the Country Emergencies, in PWR/Cuba.

Response measures carried out by the community, organizations and national authorities

The response of the national authorities has been immediate, which has resulted in a limited number of deaths.

The Ministry of Health carried out measures to secure health care facilities, evacuation and protection of computers, air conditioners, equipment etc. The medical and surgical brigades were moved to the areas at greatest risk. Monitoring of water quality and food handling has intensified, as well as personal and collective hygiene, cleaning of ditches and elimination of other potential vector breeding areas, etc. Personnel have been mobilized to support to the most affected areas.