The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will deploy an emergency team to St Maarten to support the national public health response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma and Jose.
Head of the Caribbean Public Health Agency Dr. C. James Hospedales announced this yesterday during a press conference at CARPHA’s headquarters, Federation Park, Port-of-Spain.
He said St Maarten was one of the most affected states.
“Since the inception of this emergency we have activated our disaster response plans and emergency management mechanisms in collaboration with Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO),” he said.
CARPHA’s Director for Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control Dr. Virginia Asin-Oostburg said St Marteen was the first country who reached out.
“We don’t have the numbers yet but it’s safe to say 70 percent of the country has been severely damaged. There are relief efforts already on the way that is being delivered by the Netherlands but the specific support that is requested is surrounding the area of public health, water and sanitation and also environmental health,” she said.
She said CARPHA will deploy their teams who will do an assessment and based on that they will then have more detailed support in the areas where the island needs the most.
Dr Avery Hinds, Senior Technical Officer of Communicable Diseases explained what that assessment will entail.
He said the team of three will assess the damage that has taken place. Look at the number of displaced people, and at the kinds of health risks the population currently face. They will also assess the water supply and damage to the food supply.
“We will be going out to see which health facilities are functional, what services can still be rendered, number of persons displaced and the environmental risks to which they are exposed having been displaced. We will be looking at the water quality, sanitation issues, vector control and all other relevant public health threats,” he said.