The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief Area, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of St Kitts, hosted the 14th Health Disaster Coordinators (HDC) meeting during the period of 1 - 3 June 2010 in Frigate Bay, St Kitts. A total of 39 participants got together to review developments and performance in the last years and identify main areas of cooperation in health disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean for 2010 - 2011.

The meeting provided delegates with the opportunity to share experiences and identify common issues arising from implementation of disaster management activities. Moreover, a field trip to the neighbouring island, Nevis allowed participants to appreciate the island's initiative on safe hospital and climate change adaptation technologies.

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During October 2009, PAHO/WHO convened two regional workshops in Barbados to train professionals that can be part of regional and national emergency response teams in the health sector, in the area of health logistics and communication and information management.

The Regional Emergency Response Team (RRT), composed of experts with varied backgrounds in public health and disasters was created more than two decades ago, in response to a request from PAHO/WHO member states. Among its objectives are cooperating with national authorities in carrying out rapid damage and needs assessments in the health sector, in order to coordinate the response of international agencies, and advising the health sector on immediate interventions.

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The Pan American Health Organization, in collaboration with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), organized the sub-regional meeting on "Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response: Caribbean Experience and Lessons Learned," in the period 9-11 September 2009 in Barbados. Financial support for the workshop was received from US Northern Command, US Southern Command, US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Canadian Development Agency (CIDA).

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Disasters are known to have a disproportionately high impact on the elderly. This is due to increased vulnerability from a variety of factors including chronic diseases, disability and multiple social factors. Globally, the proportion of older people is growing faster than any other age group. In 2000, one in ten or about 600 million people were 60 years or older. By 2050 this figure is expected to reach around 1.9 billion people.

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Updated in September 2019 with new Caribbean Basin Hazard Maps

PAHO/WHO, together with Applied Research Associates, a North American institute, and participants from different Caribbean countries, have created maps that show wind hazards on Caribbean islands and along the Caribbean coasts of Central and South America. The project simulates 100,000 years of Atlantic storms using hurricane hazard models, historic records, and existing wind maps and will help in the design and construction of new health facilities.

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