Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief


Monitoring Emergencies

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

El Salvador 10/21/2014

Floods. Five people have died as a result of this month’s rainfall. The continued rain has produced landslides and the collapse of walls and drains. In addition, the landslide susceptibility conditions are moderate to high across the country. (o.s.: Civil Protection, SNET; m.c.: La Prensa Gráfica).

Guatemala 10/21/2014

Orange alert for rain. 64% of the territory has very high probabilities of landslides and floods. Unstable conditions continue throughout the country. There are 12.059 people affected due to landslides, flooding and damage to infrastructure. Increase in the flow of seven rivers and the collapse of drains have been attributed to the rainfall. (o.s.: CONRED; m.c.: Prensa Libre).

Honduras 10/21/2014

Floods. About 5,004 people are isolated and 4,998 more have been evacuated to shelters due to the rains that hit the country; three people have died and three are missing. In La Costa de los Amates about 3,000 people have been isolated by the flooding of the Goascoran river. In La Mosquitia the rising waters of the Coco River have left 2,004 people held isolated. Rainfall has also left 4,998 people affected, of which 2,499 have been evacuated and 2,499 are living in shelters. The rise of the Choluteca River has the lowlands of the south on alert. COPECO has alerted the population of water contamination in areas where floods and overflows have been recorded. (o.s.: COPECO; m.: La Tribuna).

Nicaragua 10/21/2014

Rainfall. A Yellow Alert remains in effect as rainfall is expected to persist in the country, mainly in Rivas, Granada, Masaya, San Juan River, Southern Caribbean and the Autonomous Region. 24 people have died and there are 60,000 people affected in 17 departments. 5,852 houses have been damaged, of which 881 have been vacated due to high risk. 224 miles of roads have been damaged and 87 have been destroyed, as well as wells, bridges and latrines. National response. (o.s.: INETER; m.: La Voz del Sandinismo).

Mexico 10/21/2014

Hurricane Trudy. At least six people were killed, 2,300 were evacuated and 16 people remained are isolated after the passage of Tropical Storm Trudy, that has since been downgraded to a depression, in the state of Guerrero. The natural phenomenon mainly affected the municipalities of Huamuxtitlán, Tlalixtaquilla and Malinaltepec. In Oaxaca the local government informed of the overflow of the Juchatengo and Toltec rivers. Authorities issued a preventive red alert both in Guerrero and Oaxaca, due to the heavy rains produced by the storm. (o.s.: Protección Civil; m.c.: CNN).

El Salvador 10/21/2014

Floods. Five people have died as a result of this month’s rainfall. The continued rain has produced landslides and the collapse of walls and drains. In addition, the landslide susceptibility conditions are moderate to high across the country. (o.s.: Civil Protection, SNET; m.c.: La Prensa Gráfica).

A Contribution to Peace through Health Care Provision

The International Day of Peace, celebrated every year on September 21, is a global opportunity to reflect on how each institution can contribute to conflict reduction and the elimination of violence. PAHO/WHO, through the Area on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief, emphasizes in this celebration a contribution to peace in Colombia through the provision of health care for the population displaced due to violence.

A Story From Colombia

At only three years old, Juan David Martinez has already been a victim of violence. In the space of one day, the little boy and his sister had to exchange their toys, school, home and all the comforts they knew due to fear and mistrust. They had to join, along with their parents, the population displaced due to violence and the presence of illegal armed groups in Colombia. According to the Department of Social Prosperity, the forced displacement affects at present approximately 3.9 million Colombians.

"After a very long walk we arrived at a farm but we felt really bad and our children cried a lot. At that moment, we did not have any kind of public assistance and we all got sick. Since Juan David is autistic and he did not receive treatment, he became very aggressive. He went back in the recovery process and he could not walk despite the stimulation exercises that I did with him” says Juan David’s mother, a 26 year old strong woman.

The displaced communities' lack of knowledge regarding their health rights is enormous and they find many barriers when looking for health care. This fact increases the tension among people and makes the daily life of displaced communities even more difficult. Juan David’s mother asked for support in several local associations and, fortunately, she received guidance that ensured that her son received the attention of specialists in pediatric surgery, speech therapy, neurology and all that was needed to restore his health.

Today Juan David, who represents one of the faces of violence in Colombia, has made great improvements. The neurologist confirmed the type of autism that he has in order to define what actions to take and he is now receiving the proper treatment. "He is not aggressive anymore and I hope that everything will be fine now" commented his mother.

These advances in the provision of health services are becoming more evident thanks to the work of several departmental health institutions and the political will of Colombian institutions as well as international organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), through the Program of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief (PED) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The achievement, however is of the communities, who are aiming for a better life, and have gotten together in order to reclaim their health rights as part of the “Healthy Route” (Ruta Saludable) program, that is making health services for displaced populations timely and easily accessible.

Story written by the Pan American Health Organization Office in Colombia.
Names of the protagonists have been changed.

More information on the International Day of Peace: http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/.


Facebook Disasters Twitter Disasters You Tube Disasters

Knowledge Center on Public Health and Disasters 



Regional Office of the World Health Organization
525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, United States of America
Tel: +1 (202) 974-3000  Fax: +1 (202) 974-3663