|Environmental Health Management after Natural Disasters (Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS), 1982, 74 p.)|
|Part II: The management of disaster-created environmental health conditions|
|Chapter 4: Phase three: Rehabilitation measures|
All of the lifeline services-water supply, sewage and solid waste disposal, electricity, transportation, communication, and, in some instances, heating fuel-should be given primary consideration. The first short-term measure to address breakdowns in lifeline services is to create a national committee of representatives of all local and government service agencies and at least one environmental health specialist. The committee should assume responsibility for planning, monitoring, and coordinating all reconstruction activities. If necessary, a subcommittee for health and environment may be formed to oversee responses to specific public health problems.
Technical surveys for evaluating and planning the restoration of lifeline services should be conducted by specialists familiar with the affected areas and their predisaster conditions. They should gather information about specific equipment and supplies needed, in addition to information concerning general reconstruction needs. The survey should enable officials to establish the order in which measures must be taken to achieve both the short-term and the long-term restoration of services.
Once the emergency period has passed, replacements for partially and totally destroyed supplies and parts will have to be purchased. The list of items to be ordered should be drawn up during the technical surveys. Purchase orders for these should be completed at the earliest possible time, since procurement frequently is delayed.
Supplies and parts should be ordered from abroad only if they cannot be purchased locally. In the same vein, expertise and manpower resources to carry out repairs and the construction of environmental services should be contracted locally whenever possible. The cost of manpower and material resources usually increases substantially in emergency situations; thus, employment of members of the stricken population is socially and economically beneficial.
Plans for restoring lifeline services should be designed to strengthen environmental health services in stricken areas. This may call for improving upon the human, material, and financial resources and operating methods of the predisaster services.