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 7/26-28/2014

Drought. 79 municipalities affected by fires, water shortage and damage to agriculture; of those, 37 have declared public calamity situations. Major damage in La Guajira department, with 10 of 15 municipalities in state of public calamity. Response: Assistance has been prioritized in La Guajira department and Santa Marta municipality (Magdalena). Delivery of food kits, increased water distribution through tank cars and distribution of water containers, construction of wells and installation of desalinization mills. Crisis response activated in La Guajira. (o.s.: UNGRD)
Vichada department. Puerto Carreño municipality. Flooding due to overflow of the Irinoco and Meta Rivers; in addition, gales damage homes. Local response: Declaration of public calamity. (o.s.: Municipio de Puerto Carreño m.: Emisora de Policía de Puerto Carreño, Vanguardia)

United States 7/26-28/2014

Washington state. Forest fire update. 300 homes destroyed and damage to infrastructure. Preventative evacuations continue. State response with national support. Electric service reestablished.(o.s.: INCIWEB).

Guatemala 7/26-28/2014

Izabal, Alta, and Baja Verapaz departments. Floods and landslides from rains affect 720 people and damage 123 homes. Heavy rainfall accumulation in the areas of the Northern Transversal Strip and the Caribbean. (o.s.: CONRED)

Peru 7/26-28/2014

Ancash department. Santa Rosa district. Landslides affect potable water intake systems and roads; no victims and no damage to homes. Local response: Emergency declaration, provisional catchment of spring water. (o.s.: INDECI; m.: Andina).

Colombia 7/26-28/2014

Drought. 79 municipalities affected by fires, water shortage and damage to agriculture; of those, 37 have declared public calamity situations. Major damage in La Guajira department, with 10 of 15 municipalities in state of public calamity. Response: Assistance has been prioritized in La Guajira department and Santa Marta municipality (Magdalena). Delivery of food kits, increased water distribution through tank cars and distribution of water containers, construction of wells and installation of desalinization mills. Crisis response activated in La Guajira. (o.s.: UNGRD)
Vichada department. Puerto Carreño municipality. Flooding due to overflow of the Irinoco and Meta Rivers; in addition, gales damage homes. Local response: Declaration of public calamity. (o.s.: Municipio de Puerto Carreño m.: Emisora de Policía de Puerto Carreño, Vanguardia)



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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