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close this bookCoping with Natural Disasters: Role of Local Health Personnel & Community (World Health Organisation)
close this folderPart I : The disaster
close this folderChapter 1 : Community rescue operations
View the documentFear
View the documentPanic
View the documentRescue operations
View the documentReception at the health centre or hospital


In most cases, despite their fear, people tend of their own accord to give assistance to their family, their neighbours and their friends and to take the injured to the health centre or local hospital. In the hours that follow, particularly when the danger persists, fear must be countered by issuing certain items of information or instructions (by using loudspeakers and mobilizing volunteers):

• what to do to be safe,1
• information on the evolution and consequences of the disaster,
• where to obtain information on the scattered members of the family,
• information on essential matters: water, shelter, food, etc.

1 Instructions will vary according to the type of disaster. See Part III and annexes.

The dissemination of this type of information is one of the first tasks of the Emergency Committee2 which the local authority sets up immediately and which remains in permanent session to coordinate local action and information.

2 See Part II, Chapter 3.

Generally, perceiving that the community is acting in a coordinated manner and that information is being circulated gives people a feeling that the situation is under control and in that way helps to control fear.