Natural Disasters
Protecting the Public's Health
PAHO Scientific Publications, No 575
ISBN-13    9789275115756 ISBN-10    9275115753
Order Number    16100575 Format    Paper Back
Price    CHF    44.00 / US$    52.80 Developing countries:    CHF    30.80
English     2000        119   pages
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A didactic guide to all health-related measures needed to prepare for natural disasters, reduce their immediate impact, and facilitate recovery. Noting that all natural disasters share several features, the book aims to provide a framework that administrators can rely on when planning and managing the health sector's response. Details range from a list of eight misconceptions that may cause authorities to take inappropriate action, through a discussion of the sensitive issues surrounding inappropriate drug and food donations, to a distinction between responsibilities best handled by the affected country and those requiring international aid. Throughout the book, recent experiences from the Americas are used to illustrate both the impact of specific types of disaster and opportunities for mitigating their effects.
The book has fourteen concise chapters. The first describes the main health effects seen following earthquakes, destructive winds, floods and sea surges, volcanoes, and landslides. Chapter two outlines the components and key responsibilities of a national programme for managing disasters. A chapter offering advice on the preparation of disaster plans is following by a discussion of the main activities to be undertaken by a mitigation programme, giving particular attention to health facilities, drinking-water supplies, and sewerage systems.
Coordination of disease response activities is considered in the next chapter, which includes advice on the best methods for collecting information after a disaster strikes. Subsequent chapters explain the principles of mass casualty management and provide guidelines for epidemiological surveillance, disease control, laboratory services, and vaccination programmes. Other chapters cover environmental health problems, food and nutrition, temporary settlements and camps, communications and transport, and the management of relief supplies. The book concludes with a review of the types of international assistance available, followed by guidelines for reestablishing normal health programmes. Of particular practical value is a chapter on the management of relief supplies, which offers abundant advice on the sorting, classification, inventory, distribution and storage of both local and donated supplies.