Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

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.

Colombia 7/25/2014

Drought. La Guajira Department. The Office of the Ombudsman (Defensoría del Pueblo) has asked the national government and territorial authorities for emergency humanitarian intervention, to prevent infant mortality from diseases caused by the water shortages. The national government has announced an strategy to mitigate the effects of the shortage: drilling, distribution of water through tank cars, increased methods to control fires, support for agriculture. UNGR has distributed food and water kits and taken steps to clean water reservoirs in the Uribía municipality, in two phases, benefitting 26,000 families. (o.s.: Defensoría del Pueblo, Presidencia de Colombia, UNGRD; m.: Caracol)

Paraguay 7/25/2014

Floods update. River levels decreasing. Response: Continued support to those affected; 15,958 people have received assistance in Asunción. Installation of sanitation modules in affected areas of Asunción continues; a total of 100 will be installed. SEN (Paraguay) authorities have met with authorities from the Argentine Prime Minister’s Office and the Formosa (Argentina) province to coordinate bilateral collaboration before a possible El Niño phenomenon. (o.s.: Oficina de OPS en Paraguay, Ministerio de Salud, Secretaría de Emergencia Nacional; m.: Naineck Prensa Digital).

Colombia 7/25/2014

Drought. La Guajira Department. The Office of the Ombudsman (Defensoría del Pueblo) has asked the national government and territorial authorities for emergency humanitarian intervention, to prevent infant mortality from diseases caused by the water shortages. The national government has announced an strategy to mitigate the effects of the shortage: drilling, distribution of water through tank cars, increased methods to control fires, support for agriculture. UNGR has distributed food and water kits and taken steps to clean water reservoirs in the Uribía municipality, in two phases, benefitting 26,000 families. (o.s.: Defensoría del Pueblo, Presidencia de Colombia, UNGRD; m.: Caracol)



Hospitals Safe from Disasters - still a priority

The tornadoes that have devastated the cities of Joplin (Missouri State) and Minneapolis (Minnesota State) in the U.S. have left dozens of dead people and widespread damages in the infrastructure and services of the area. The main hospital in the city of Joplin had been evacuated after suffering the direct hit from the storm and being severely damaged. The emergency unit, set up to provide care for the wounded, has been moved after several fires were declared in the building.

It is necessary to stress the importance of hospitals and health facilities safe from disasters. PAHO/WHO continues to implement measures to improve safety in the health facilities in the region and to strengthen their capacity to respond to emergencies. It is important to establish alliances within the network of stakeholders from different sectors, both within and outside the health sector.

In the past 10 years progress has been made to ensure that hospitals do not collapse and continue running when a disaster strikes. It is necessary to continue moving in this direction and developing programs to keep hospitals and health centers operating when they are most needed.

Picture: AP

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