Hurricane Dennis

Situation Reports

11 July 2005

10 July 2005


The PAHO/WHO Office in Jamaica reports that health authorities in Jamaica are undertaking damage assessments. Preliminary reports confirm early predictions that major damage to health infrastructure would be due to flooding and leaking roofs.

All hospitals are providing only in-patient and emergency services, as the out-patients departments remain closed.

Spanish Town Hospital reports a blocked road leading to the maternity block - alternative access has been arranged.
Princess Margaret Hospital is experiencing electricity problems. Therefore, telephones are not operating and there is no water (pump is not functioning).
There were windows missing at the Bellview Hospital (Mental Health Facility).
Leaking roofs were reported at Kingstown Public Hospital, Victoria Jubilee, Bellview, Princess Margaret, Linstead, May Pen, Spanish Town, Lionel Town, Chapelton and Falmouth hospitals.
There have been no reports of disease outbreaks due to the increased rains.

A maternal death was reported in St. Thomas - She presented with a one week of shortness of breath and a diagnosis of Pulmonary Embolism was made. She was to be transferred to the Victoria Jubilee but due to inclement weather this was not possible on time and she died.

A preliminary priority list of needs from the Ministry of Health includes:




Tarpaulins - 26 ft x 40 ft.


Mattresses for hospital beds


Cases drinking water


Collapsible water containers - 5 gallons


Disposable sheets




Stool jars


Dry swaps


Igloos 1 or 2 gallon


Ice packs


7 mls. Sterile plain tubes


7 ml tubes with anticoagulant


Needles 21 gauge

5000 each

Syringes; 5 mls. and 10 mls

5000 each

Disposable Gloves, size 7 and size 8

500 pails

Rodenticide (10 Kg)


Hurricane Dennis passed over Cuba on Friday, 8 July, causing tremendous destruction - particularly in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Sancti Spiritus, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, and the province and city of Havana-to infrastructure such as electric power and telephone lines and television transmission towers, to housing, and to the agriculture sector. However, no damage was reported to health infrastructure. A PAHO/WHO disaster expert is working with national authorities to conduct a more in-depth assessment of the health situation.

Cuba's National Disaster Office reported evacuating 1.5 million people from at-risk areas. More than 1,800 shelters were activated, 805 of them in schools. Despite the high lefel of preparedness, 10 persons lost their lives. Damage to buildings was extensive and more than 31,300 homes were affected.


8 July 2005

Cuba: Minor damage is being reported as Hurricane Dennis begins to cross Cuba. The Office of Civil Defense has declared that the provinces of Guantánamo, Holguín y Las Tunas are no longer at risk and that the provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Granma are beginning the recovery process. The remaining at risk provinces continue to be on alert, with emergency preparedness measures in place. The Ministry of Health has 13 medical brigades on standby should medical attention by necessary.

Haiti: There have been reports of 5-10 casualties, and significant damage to agriculture, although it is reported that Hurricane Dennis has not caused damage to health infrastructure in Haiti. Two PAHO staff are participating in an assessment mission of the affected area and will be reporting back over the weekend.

Jamaica: Hurricane Dennis caused severe flooding in the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Andrew and Portland. A reported 2,000 persons have been evacuated from at-risk areas and are being housed in shelters. There is no report of damage to health infrastructure, apart from water leaks in 11 hospitals. Most of the heavy rains and hurricane strength winds lessened overnight and Jamaica has moved to relief and recovery operations.

Cayman Islands: Only strong winds and rain have been reported to date and health infrastructure has not been damaged.


7 July 2005

Dennis became a category III hurricane on July 7 and it is expected to continue on its current path towards the Gulf Coast. High levels of rainfall are expected in Cuba and Jamaica as the hurricane passes near the coasts of both island countries.
In Haiti, Dennis caused severe flooding due to the heavy rains. One casualty has been confirmed as well as several damaged homes and a flooded health center. A PAHO/UNDP team has been dispatched to the affected area to assess damages and needs.

In Jamaica, all government agencies have activated their disaster management plans. National and regional Health Emergency Operations Centers have also been activated. Because this weather system is expected to release a considerable amount of rain, health authorities predict that main problems in the hospitals will be related to leaking roofs and flooding. PAHO will follow up on recommendations made to mitigate damage to critical health facilities in the wake of Hurricane Ivan last September, which battered Jamaica as a category 5 storm.

Flooding is anticipated in the parishes of St. Thomas, Kingston and Clarendon. Kingston's main water source is located in St. Thomas and, as turbidity levels are expected to rise beyond water treatment capabilities, Kingston is likely to experience severe water shortages.

The collection and disposal of solid waste have been suspended, as the landfills are not equipped with all-weather-roads and trucks are sinking into soft ground. The community has been advised to store solid waste in plastic bags and to separate biodegradables from non-biodegradables.