In 2005, disasters affected more than 150 million people worldwide. WHO’s Health Action in Crisis Program has published its annual report of a year that started with the South East Asia tsunami and ended with the South Asia earthquake. However, it is pointed out that while major disasters are the ones that attract media and public attention, there are hundreds of “lesser” and complex emergencies that fade fast from the public eye, leaving countries with shortages in aid, sometimes severely hindering recovery efforts at the local level.
The report covers the areas to which WHO paid special attention during emergencies, including: communicable disease control; health performance; the humanitarian health cluster; cost recovery in complex emergencies; malnutrition; women’s health; sexual and gender-based violence; mental health; and essential surgical care. The report also studies ways for WHO to strengthen its program on Health Action in Crises and for identifying sources of funding. The report can be downloaded in PDF format from WHO’s website at: www.who.int/disasters.