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PAHO issues US$3.5-m donor appeal for aid to The Bahamas

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is requesting an initial US$3.5 million from donors to cover short-term health care and other needs for the population in The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

“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,” PAHO's Director of Health Emergencies, Dr Ciro Ugarte, said in a release.

He said that adequate waste management and control of disease-causing vectors such as mosquitoes is key, along with increasing epidemiological surveillance to support early detection and timely management of disease outbreaks.

The US$3.5 million being requested by PAHO is a preliminary estimate to cover short- term healthcare, water and sanitation, epidemiological surveillance and vector-control needs in the Bahamian Islands most affected by Hurricane Dorian for the next six months, Dr Ugarte added.

The devastating category 5 storm made landfall one week ago in northwest Bahamas, and severely affected the health sector, with significant destruction of equipment and medical supplies and electrical and water supplies in Abaco and Grand Bahama, PAHO said in its appeal.

Some 73,000 people were affected by the storm, and there are hundreds of people 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.