Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief


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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)



Health Response to the Earthquake in Haiti - January 2010

Lessons to be learned for the next massive sudden-onset disaster

The 12 January 2010 earthquake was the most devastating of many major sudden-impact natural disasters affecting Haiti in the last 10 years. The health impact of the earthquake in absolute terms (number of dead and injured) was among the highest in recent times. When the needs are compared to the country’s response capacity, this disaster was truly unprecedented.

The level of response, especially in the health sector, was generous, even overwhelming. Organization of the massive, global response was challenging, and many of the problems seen in past disasters were replayed in Haiti. Information was scarce, decisions were often not evidence-based, and there were serious gaps in overall or sectoral coordination.

The book and the summaries present lessons to be learned from Haiti with the aim of improving the health sector’s response in major, sudden-onset disasters in the future. It also identifies opportunities provided by the disaster for making significant changes in health services in Haiti. One of the key lessons of the Haiti tragedy is that coordination can only be effective where national authorities are equipped to assume leadership and establish relief and recovery priorities.

The publications give particular emphasis to those lessons that are of general interest, i.e., not specific to the case of Haiti. The international community has much to learn from the response in Haiti where it has shown an ability to repeat its errors and shortcomings from past disasters.

Order a copy of the full publication in English or French from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (the summaries are only available in PDF format) or download here in PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read the files. Download the software for free from the Adobe website.

 

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