The Director General of WHO visited the devastated areas of the Bahamas
The official commented: "This tragedy reminds us once again that we must urgently address the factors that drive climate change"
"The world must cover the Bahamas after the overwhelming passage of Hurricane Dorian, which, in addition to destroying many lives and livelihoods, has caused serious damage to essential infrastructure, depriving the population of vital services at a crucial time," he said. declared Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, after finishing his visit to the Bahamas.
"I am very sorry to see the devastation suffered by populations and families, who have lost friends and loved ones, in addition to their housing, belongings and access to crucial services," added Dr. Tedros. "Hurricane Dorian reminds us once again that we must urgently address the factors that drive climate change and invest more in the resilience of communities. The more we delay, the more people will suffer. We must ensure the safety of the planet and its inhabitants ".
During his visit, Dr. Tedros met with the Governor General, the Minister of Health and other officials of the Public Administration, in which he praised his preparation, reaction capacity and efforts to mitigate the damage caused by the hurricane.
The visit included stops on the Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands, where most of the homes and infrastructure, including the sanitary ones, were completely destroyed. Dr. Tedros was accompanied by the Minister of Health, Dr. Duane Sands. Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas on September 1, 2019, affecting 75,000 people. There are still 1500 people staying in shelters, about 600 missing and 56 confirmed deaths.
The health sector of Abacus and Grand Bahama suffered a severe blow, with the destruction of medical equipment and supplies and the interruption of the supply of electricity and water. Three health facilities have been destroyed in Grand Bahama and two in Abaco.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO-WHO) is the only United Nations agency with a physical presence in the Bahamas. PAHO-WHO has deployed 20 staff and coordinated the mobilization of five international emergency medical teams for the response. Dr. Tedros thanked the teams for their quick intervention and tireless delivery to the most vulnerable people.
WHO has mobilized from the USD 1 million Contingency Fund, which will be used to mitigate the effects of the hurricane. Dr. Tedros reiterated WHO's commitment to support the Administration and the people of the Bahamas in restoring the health system.
Globally, WHO will continue to collaborate with Member States to achieve greater resilience in the health sector and mitigate the effects of climate change, especially in small island developing States, the most affected despite being the least contributing to the problem. Last week, at the Climate Action Summit in New York, WHO called on countries to commit to reduce carbon emissions, achieve cleaner air, save lives and significantly expand investments in interventions effective to strengthen the resilience of health systems to the effects of climate change.