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Tropical Storm Jeanne in Haiti
Preliminary Outline of Emergency Needs

23 September 2004

Introduction

Tropical storm Jeanne brought heavy rains to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. On Saturday 18 September the city of Gonaives in Haiti was hit by serious floods, leaving an estimated 80% of the city of 104,000 in urgent need of drinking water, food, shelter and medical care. Initial assessments by interagency teams with reported almost half the city was under 1.5-2.5 meters of water. The national authorities are speaking of 1000 confirmed deaths, while the death toll continues to rise. In addition to the floods in Gonaives, relatively minor floods occurred in towns and villages in the North, North-West and Artibonite provinces of Haiti. Some villages are completely cut off by high river levels and are in urgent need of food, fuel and medical supplies. Access to these villages is only possible by helicopter and assessment of the situation is difficult.

The infrastructure in Gonaives, already weakened by years of instability and chronic underdevelopment, is now almost destroyed. The municipal drinking water system is destroyed; there are no functioning health structures, and electric and telecommunication systems are extremely limited. Receding water levels have left large amounts of mud and wreckage in the streets. Fuel supplies are limited as are the possibilities of moving around in the city.

PAHO Response and Needs Assessment

  • A PAHO official participated in the interagency rapid assessment carried out in the affected areas. MINUSTAH helicopters provided transportation.
  • The first shipment of 1.5 metric tones of drugs, medical supplies and basic water and sanitation materials was sent to Gonaives by helicopter on 22 September. PAHO is continuing to provide drugs and medical supplies to the national health authorities, NGO’s and other health actors in the affected area. These supplies are provided by the central warehouse of PROMESS (Essential Drugs Program), which sent the first shipment of drugs and medical material to Gonaives on Monday 20 September 2004.
  • PAHO has purchased substantial quantities of chemical products for the treatment of cadavers (formol, creoline etc) and has made these available to the Ministry of Health. PAHO is assisting the Ministry of Health by providing transport, fuel and materials to its staff working in the area.
  • PAHO is acting as the focal point for health and water and sanitation and actively participates in OCHA coordination meetings to collect, supply and distribute information to all health actors.
  • For more information, visit www1.paho.org/disasters (click on Tropical Storm Jeanne).