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.

Guatemala 8/26/2014

Drought. 236.000 affected families in 16 of the 22 departments. 500,000 children under at risk for malnutrition. Losses have been reported in agriculture, particularly corn, beans and basic grains. Public calamity state has been declared in 14 departments. Basic food distribution started last week, with support from WFP. CONRED has elevated to yellow the level of institutional alert. (o.s.: Government of Guatemala).

Peru 8/26/2014

Update 6.6 earthquake in Ayacucho (24 August). One person badly injured and eight with minor injuries; more than 750 affected. Five health centers are out of commission (2 Chaviña, Sancos, Palca, Lamapa, Colta,Ushua) and 13 have been affected. 176 homes and 36 schools have been damaged. Water supply distribution has been affected in Jaqui (Arequipa) and Chicalle (Ayacucho). National response: mobilization of health brigades to provide psychosocial support in Puquio and Cora Cora; delivery of medicines and humanitarian assistance. (o.s.: INDECI)

Dominican Republic 8/26/2014

Floods produced by Tropical Storm Cristobal forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people to the homes of family and friends. One hospital in San Pedro de Macorís, two bridges, an electric substation damaged, 606 homes affected and 23 communities isolated in the eastern region and parts of the northeast. 18 of the 22 provinces are in alert mode. San Pedro de Macoris is the most affected. (m.: EFE, Enterao).

Guatemala 8/26/2014

Drought. 236.000 affected families in 16 of the 22 departments. 500,000 children under at risk for malnutrition. Losses have been reported in agriculture, particularly corn, beans and basic grains. Public calamity state has been declared in 14 departments. Basic food distribution started last week, with support from WFP. CONRED has elevated to yellow the level of institutional alert. (o.s.: Government of Guatemala).



Two years after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan

On 11 March 2011, Japan suffered one of the worst disasters in its recent history. A 9.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicenter off the coast of Honshu—and the most powerful registered in the country—provoked a tsunami that struck the coast in less than half an hour. With waves that reached almost 40 meters, the tsunami caused the death of more than 15,000 people, and left more than 3,000 people missing and almost 6,000 injured. Approximately 45,700 buildings were destroyed and 144,300 were damaged.

The tragedy that followed was caused not only by the earthquake and the tsunami, but also because of a serious accident in the Fukushima's nuclear plant, that included explosions in the buildings containing the nuclear reactors, failures in the refrigeration systems, a triple merger of the core and escape of radiation. Although the accident was a consequence of the earthquake and the tsunami, failures in the nuclear plant safety protocols contributed to it.

The absence of a containment wall for tsunamis with high waves allowed the water to penetrate the nuclear plant without any opposition. The numerous critical systems located in areas vulnerable to floods caused a chain reaction of technological failures, culminating in the complete loss of control over the plant and its reactors. This situation led to high radiation levels and prompted the evacuation of more than 60,000 people.

In addition, communication problems during the management of the crisis created a loss of confidence in the authorities within the population.

Regarding the health consequences of the disaster, the WHO report ‘Health Risk Assessment from the Nuclear Accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Based on Preliminary Dose estimation’ noted that the estimated risk for specific cancers in certain subsets of the population in the Fukushima Prefecture has increased and, as such, it calls for long term continued monitoring and health screenings of those people.

In this second anniversary, we invite you to view a collection of information about radiological emergencies prepared by the Regional Disaster Information Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRID), where you will find:

  • A selection of publications about lessons learned;
  • A selection of webpages of institutions related to the subject;
  • Documents and technical guidelines;
  • A history of radiological accidents in Latin America;
  • Courses and trainings.
 

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