By Aaron Humes: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has moved into high gear following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti on Saturday.
The team from PAHO, based in the capital Port-au-Prince, is supporting coordination of health response alongside Haiti’s Ministry of Health, United Nations agencies, and other partners in order to assess immediate needs and ensure that support is provided quickly and efficiently. PAHO is also preparing several Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs), as well as medical supplies and other strategic equipment that can be deployed if needed. EMTs are teams of health professionals that provide direct clinical care to people affected by emergencies and disasters.
PAHO/WHO has activated Incident Management Teams both at its Country Offices in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as well at its Headquarters in Washington, DC, USA.
Experts are now concerned that the situation may escalate due to the increased risk of wind and rainfall that may be brought by tropical storm Grace, which is expected to reach the island of Hispaniola today, Sunday, August 15.
At least 227 people have been killed – a number which is expected to rise over the next few hours. There are also reports of significant damage to health infrastructure, particularly in the southwest of the island, including in towns such as Les Cayes.