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)



Water and sanitation: critical elements in emergencies

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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