Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

Monitoring Emergencies

From official sources (O.S.) and media (M). It does not represent PAHO's official position.

Mexico - 8/21/2014

State of Nuevo Leon, Candereyta municipality. An oil spill in Rio San Juan affected between 4,000 and 5,000 people in at least three communities. A water quality analysis is being conducted in surrounding areas. Local response. (m.: Milenio).

Panama - 8/19/2014

Province of Chiriquí. Floods update (17 August). SINAPROC confirmed yesterday the death of nine people and the destruction of over 20 houses. Temporary shelters have been set up. 400 people affected. The President has declared a state of emergency, and the removal of debris has restarted. (o.s.: SINAPROC)

Mexico - 8/19/2014

State of Sonora, Cananea. Potential water contamination due to a sulfuric acid spill in the Sonora river after a structural failure in a copper mine, caused by heavy rains in the area.   According to press reports nearly 40,000 cubic meters of sulfuric acid were spilled. As a security measure, CONAGUA suspended water supply to 20,000 people in the region and is carrying out sampling in different points of the river. (m.: El País)

Mexico - 8/21/2014

State of Nuevo Leon, Candereyta municipality. An oil spill in Rio San Juan affected between 4,000 and 5,000 people in at least three communities. A water quality analysis is being conducted in surrounding areas. Local response. (m.: Milenio).

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Epidemic outbreaks require an institutional response which, based on the needs, integrates the health sector with other areas, political experts and National Disaster Offices.

The epidemic of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) currently ongoing in West Africa, which was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Importance under the International Health Regulations (IHR), requires preparedness measures from the authorities of the countries of the Americas. These measures should target the prevention of local transmission of the disease in the possible event of the introduction of an imported case in the Region.


6.9 Earthquake in Mexico / Guatemala

A strong 6.9 magnitude earthquake at 37 km depth shook the Mexican border with Guatemala on Monday morning (7/7/2014), causing three deaths and 21 injured, damaging buildings in both countries. The quake was felt across a broad swath of southern Mexico and Guatemala. After the earthquake, monitoring protocols and verification of damage were activated in affected regions in both countries. In Guatemala, Orange Alert Institutional was declared and in Chiapas (Mexico) was activated the State Emergency Committee. The wounded were treated at hospitals without exceeding the attention capacity.

Floods in Paraguay Leave Thousands Displaced

Paraguay - junio 2014For the last four months Paraguay has been affected by heavy rains that have produced high tides in at least eight departments, and in the capital, Asuncion, due to the overflowing of the Parana and Paraguay rivers, among others. The floods have been slow-onset; therefore, it has been possible to evacuate populations on time. However, more than 30,000 families (about 160,000 people) have been affected, and many of them have been evacuated to the 91 shelters established, or are staying with relatives or friends.

NEW! PAHO/WHO receives U.N. emergency funds to restore water and sanitation in flooded areas of Paraguay



Boosting National Efforts to Protect Health Services in Disasters

The Fourth Session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Americas (RP14) recognized the importance of having and promoting national initiatives on safe hospitals and the need to protect essential services, particularly those dedicated to providing health care and education. The RP14 was held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, from 27 - 29 May. Parallel to the Platform, PAHO’s Department of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief hosted a meeting for Health Disaster Coordinators. In addition, prior to these activities, a Course on Rapid Response, aimed at strengthening PAHO’s Regional Response Team, was held on the 26th.


Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector - Guide for the Coordination of Public Health Emergencies and Disasters

The purpose of this guide is to share information, knowledge and tools to strengthen coordination mechanisms in the water, sanitation and health sector, both at national and local level. It is structured in three modules: the first focuses on knowledge of the Humanitarian Reform and the establishment of sectoral groups to respond to public health emergencies and disaster situations. The second presents information regarding the operational activities in the water, sanitation and hygiene sectors and its links with other sectors. Finally, the third discloses the tools necessary to work on preparedness and response for an efficient coordination in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.

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