Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

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Monitoring Emergencies

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

Chile 4/18/2014

Valparaíso Region. Wildfire update (12-18 April). Fire is still active in forested and inhabited areas. 959 people remain in nine shelters. Response: The health network continues to be strengthened with mobile units, brigades of ophthamology operating in affected areas, and mental health attention in shelters. (o.s: Ministry of Health, ONEMI,  PAHO Office in Chile).

Arica y Parinacota and Tarapacá Regions. 8.2M earthquake update. Mental health attention by 30 professionals sent to Tarapacá. (o.s: Ministry of Health).

Mexico 4/18/2014

7.2 magnitude earthquake, 10km deep, 41 km south of Petatlán; felt in western and central states. No reports of deaths or injuries at the moment. Damages in IMSS Hospital in Zihuatanejo, mobile unit sent for support. Minor damages in public buildings in Guerrero. No major damages in Mexico City, some power outages. Response: Activation of protocols and evaluation of damages. (o.s: IMSS, Government of Guerrero; m: El Universal).

Nicaragua 4/18/2014

Earthquakes update (10-18 April). 1,446 people evacuated from unsafe buildings. Seismic activity continues. Response: Emergency plans updated in the health sector, clean water administered, and sanitation systems improved in shelters. Medical attention via brigades in five municipalities. Ecuador sends medical supplies and humanitarian assistance. (o.s: INETER, PAHO Office in Nicaragua, SNGR Ecuador; m: El 19 Digital).

Paraguay 4/18/2014

Misiones and Central departments. Floods affect 100 families in San Ignacio (Misiones) and five neighborhoods in Limpio (Central). National response, evaluation of damages, and distribution of humanitarian assistace. (o.s: SEN; m: ABC Color).

Peru 4/18/2014

Ubinas volcano. Evacuation of communities of Querapi and San Carlos de Titi, 100 people in total. Masks distribution in communities affected by ashfall. (o.s: INDECI).

Chile 4/18/2014

Valparaíso Region. Wildfire update (12-18 April). Fire is still active in forested and inhabited areas. 959 people remain in nine shelters. Response: The health network continues to be strengthened with mobile units, brigades of ophthamology operating in affected areas, and mental health attention in shelters. (o.s: Ministry of Health, ONEMI,  PAHO Office in Chile).

Arica y Parinacota and Tarapacá Regions. 8.2M earthquake update. Mental health attention by 30 professionals sent to Tarapacá. (o.s: Ministry of Health).

Water and sanitation: critical elements in emergencies

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On World Water Day we reflect on the need of having access to safe water in disasters

Water, a basic element for life, can be one of the major causes for concern after a disaster. The availability of water in sufficient quantity and quality is critical to provide health care, to ensure its use by the affected population, to maintain minimum standards of hygiene and to support the rescue work, among other activities. On World Water Day, PAHO/WHO calls for reflection on the importance and need of including in risk management plans and response plans actions to ensure access to quality drinking water, sanitation and hygiene during emergencies and disasters.

Ensuring water supply is one of the most important measures during an emergency and, in this sense, the monitoring of water quality becomes an action of vital importance to ensure the delivery of safe water to the affected population, hospitals and health facilities.

Water, sanitation and hygiene also become critical elements to avoid diseases that may occur due to the poor health conditions of the affected area. After disasters, water becomes the most precious value and its shortage or contamination can have serious consequences for public health.

For these reasons, PAHO/WHO reiterates the need of taking the necessary measures to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene to the people affected by disasters. These actions involve a number of actors ranging from local authorities and entities providing water service to the affected community. The success of these activities will depend on the level of coordination between these actors.

More information on World Water Day:

 

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