|Earthquakes and People's Health (WHO - OMS, 1997, 296 p.)|
|ILLUSTRATIONS (COLOUR PHOTOS)|
The topic of the International Symposium on Earthquakes and People's Health is of global significance and marks the second anniversary of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake which struck Kobe in 1995.
In different parts of the world tragic disasters due to earthquakes or cyclones quite often occur, and effective emergency preparedness today goes beyond what the health sector can do alone. Therefore, if we want the impact of disasters to be reduced, institutional and sectoral barriers have to be broken down, and planning and implementation of emergency preparedness should from its inception involve all sectors and organizations that have a role to play when disaster strikes.
Disasters also have long-term effects on the physical and mental health of the population, and these effects have not attracted enough attention from the point of view of preventive measures. Therefore, the aim of our symposium is to cover both short-term and long-term aspects of health, based on national and international experiences. The symposium provides a forum for the exchange of cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary knowledge on issues related to earthquakes and health. In addition, there will be an opportunity to learn from Kobe's earthquake experience.
The subtitle of the symposium, "Vulnerability Reduction, Preparedness and Rehabilitation" states quite clearly where we would like to see the lessons learned being applied in the future. The keynote presentations introduce the most important underlying issues, followed by more details on short-term and long-term effects as well as rehabilitation and prevention.
The three-and-a-half day programme features six plenary sessions, four panel discussions, three parallel workshops and a field visit to the Kobe earthquake sites. The outcomes of the symposium should provide advice to policy-makers and experts in the field and should identify areas where further research may be required.
The organization of this international symposium is an expression of our deep appreciation to the people and the authorities of the Hyogo-Kobe community which, despite the disastrous effects of the earthquake which struck this city, went ahead and established this Centre. It is also a symbol of the determination of the people of Kobe and a contribution to the health of people throughout the world. Therefore, I should like to express our thanks to the people of Kobe and our admiration to Hyogo Prefecture and Kobe City administrations for their modem and far-sighted vision that resulted in a speedy recovery from this disaster.