Issue 115 April 2011

This issue

Disasters newsletter using new technologies

The PAHO/WHO newsletter, Disasters: Preparedness and Mitigation in the Americas, has been available in print format since 1979 and in digital format since 1995. Now the newsletter’s portal, www.paho.org/disasters/newsletter, allows...

What's New at CRID

The Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID)’s mission is to promote the development of a culture of prevention in Latin American and Caribbean countries through the compilation and dissemination of disaster-related...

Criteria for Use in Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency

This safety guide presents a set of criteria for developing the operational levels needed for decisions concerning protective and response actions in a nuclear or radiological emergency. The recommendations for...

Report on Climate Change Adaptation in Central America, Mexico, and Cuba

The results of a regional project, “Promoting Capacity for Stage II of Climate Change Adaptation in Central America, Mexico and Cuba,” were published after an intensive and lengthy review process....

A Chronicle of the Earthquake in Haiti

This document gives an overview of the actions taken by PAHO/WHO in response to the Haitian earthquake. It covers those immediate actions that were staged through the Office of the...

Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters

Earthquakes, droughts, floods, and storms are natural hazards, but unnatural disasters resulting from human activity cause deaths and damage. Every disaster is unique, but each one exposes actions by governments...

Water, sanitation, and hygiene: the Dominican Republic’s plan to control outbreaks

The Dominican Republic developed an action plan for environmental health that was decisive in the prevention and control of the cholera outbreak that occurred there in November 2010. This plan...

Despite advances, much remains to be done to reduce risk in the health sector

The health sector has progressed at a steady pace in disaster risk reduction (DRR) since 1985, when ministers of health in the Region of the Americas included vulnerability reduction in...

Haiti: moving from emergency to a fragile recovery

The emergency phase for Haiti at the national level—both in terms of post-earthquake activities and cholera response—is now near completion. This conclusion has led many national and international NGOs to...

La Niña ravages Colombia

In late 2010, an estimated 60% of Colombia’s territory was affected by the severe rains and flooding associated with the La Niña phenomenon. According to Colombia’s president and the country’s...

Guidelines for delivering humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies

Providing humanitarian assistance in conflict situations has always been a dangerous and difficult undertaking. In the last decade, casualties among humanitarian workers have tripled, averaging 100 deaths per year. In...

CRED provides valuable information on the impact of disasters

During 2010, there were 373 natural disasters worldwide that claimed over 296,800 lives and affected some 208 million people. It is estimated that costs related to these events approached $110...

Meeting for the Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction

The Second Session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas took place in Nayarit, Mexico, from 15 to 17 March 2011. The event was organized by...

REMPAN promotes preparedness and assists in radiological emergencies

As part of its response to the nuclear power plant crisis in Japan in March, World Health Organization (WHO) alerted its global network of health experts specialized in nuclear-related disasters....

The Caribbean readies for potential cholera outbreak

The recent cholera outbreak in Haiti demands measures to control existing cases and to prevent further spread of the disease. The proximity of islands in the Caribbean and the frequency...

Experts discuss the use of field hospitals and foreign medical teams

In December 2010, 26 experts from the international humanitarian community met in Cuba to discuss the use of field hospitals and foreign medical teams during emergency situations. The meeting was...

Preparing for health emergencies in Central America and the Dominican Republic

The global A(H1N1) pandemic in 2009 provided important lessons in a variety of areas including disaster management and coordination, epidemiologic surveillance, health services, and risk communication. Technical advice about these...

The Americas and the new global humanitarian context

The ministries of health in Latin America and the Caribbean can be proud of their historic contribution to disaster management. A milestone was the resolution passed by the PAHO Directing...

The Interview

Dr. Dana Van Alphen, the regional advisor for the PAHO/WHO emergency response team, arrived in Haiti two days after the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010. As the coordinator for...