CARPHA Deploys Technical Staff to the Bahamas Ahead of Hurricane Dorian

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  On Friday, August 30, 2019, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as part of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) led by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency Coordinating Unit (CDEMA), prepositioned a member of staff to support the Government of the Bahamas in rapidly assessing the damage from Hurricane Dorian and in prioritizing needs.


Two Rapid Needs Assessment Teams (RNAT) comprise 18 persons, and CARPHA joins representatives of the CDEMA Participating States of Antigua and the Turks and Caicos Islands as well as the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Port Managers Association of the Caribbean (PMAC), Private Sector, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the World Food Programme (WFP).


Early Sunday afternoon on September 1, Hurricane Dorian a powerful category 5 storm slammed into the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, with sustained 185-mph winds causing residents to flee their homes as a result of widespread devastation to property, coastlines and utilities.


“As part of the RNAT, CARPHA will add its expertise to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) component of the evaluation.  This includes conducting assessments of the country’s health facilities, and public health systems.   Focus will also be given to environmental health concerns that could further impact human health and wellbeing. These will include water and food safety, chemical and waste management, shelter management and potential for vector borne disease outbreaks,” stated Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA Executive Director.


Hurricane Dorian is abelled by the US National Hurricane Center as the “strongest hurricane in modern record for the northwest Bahamas”.  Last week, Dorian was expected to bring tropical storm conditions to the islands of Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, however minimal damage was reported.


Dr. St. John urges residents and visitors to take continued precautions and listen to the advice given by the local disaster management authorities.  CARPHA expresses deep concern and sympathy for those affected by Hurricane Dorian.


The Agency provided technical assistance in 2016 and 2015 to the Bahamas following Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Joaquin respectively.


As the sole public health agency for the Caribbean region, mandated to respond to emergencies including pandemics, hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding, CARPHA is on stand-by to assist and support other affected Member States in hurricane response.