altBRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday October 1, 2015 - Work has commenced in the selected countries to collect baseline information and to start training national teams to undertake the assessment of health facilities in the four (4) priority countries, namely Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica as part of Phase II of the Smart Healthcare Facilities Project.

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Tormenta en Dominica

Update: 8 September 2015. PAHO/WHO is coordinating with health officials in Dominica to mitigate the impact of Tropical Storm Erika, which struck the island on August 26, causing widespread damage. Erika, the fifth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, dropped nearly 13 inches of rain on the island in a 12-hour period. Landslides and flooding resulted in 13 confirmed deaths. There are 360 people in shelters across five communities. One health center remains closes; however, the island's other 51 health facilities, including 3 hospitals, are operational. According to recent assessments, and the management of the emergency by the Ministry of Health, the country has all the necessary human resources to provide health services.

pdf Situation Report No. 6: Health Response Dominica Tropical Storm Erika (299.01 kB)

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altPhase II of the Smart Health Care Facilities in the Eastern Caribbean Project will be implemented in four selected countries, namely Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica, over a period of three years starting in June 2015. The project is being financially supported by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) in the amount of £ 8.2 million (US$12.6 million) and implemented through PAHO's Department of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief, in partnership with the Ministry of Health in each target country.

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altCaribbean countries are particularly vulnerable to the impact of natural hazards and damage to hospitals feature highly among losses reported. Functional collapse is the main cause of hospitals being out of service after a disaster; only a small percentage of them are out of service exclusively due to structural damage. The major reason for the collapse of health infrastructure and corresponding deaths was due to the fact that hospitals are constructed without taking into account natural hazards, and that systems progressively deteriorate due to lack of maintenance over time.

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The Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment of St. Vincent and the Grenadines activated its mass casualty management plan to deal with casualties in the incident, where a van transporting approximately 21 passengers 14 of which are said to be school children overturned, falling down an embankment in an area called "Rock Gutter".

The Pan American Health Organization that works closely with the Ministry in the area of emergency preparedness and risk reduction, offered assistance with emergency supplies for the victims.