Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief


Home

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)



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.
 

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