|Disasters Preparedness and Mitigation - Issue No. 50 - April, 1992 (Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS), 1992, 8 p.)|
Caribbean: Simulation Exercises Scheduled for June
The Regional Security Service is organizing a simulation exercise for member countries in Barbados in June This year's Tradewinds exercise will be held simultaneously with an exercise organized by CERO, Barbados' Central Emergency Relief Organization, designed to allow a number of national institutions to analyze their disaster contingency plans. At the same time, multilateral agencies will use a tabletop simulation to review their capacity to respond to disasters. More information in the next issue of this newsletter.
Colombia: Mitigation Program
Colombia's National Disaster Prevention Office has published a three-year report of the nation's Disaster Mitigation Program, which is supported by UNDRO. In addition to discussing the National Disaster System. which is made up of public and private sector agencies and carries out disaster prevention through regional and local emergency committees, the report details the mitigation activities that make up the Program. These activities relate to specific disaster scenarios which pose a real risk for Colombia: an earthquake in Cali; a tsunami or tidal wave in Tumaco: landslides in Paz del Rio; mudslides caused by a volcanic eruption in Ibague; and sudden-onset flooding in the basin of the Combeima River. This report is available in Spanish and English. For information on obtaining copies write Oficina Nacional de Prevencion y Atencion a Desastres, Calle 7, No. 6-54, Bogota. Colombia.
Costa Rica: Emergency Commission Launches Educational Campaign
During the month of February, the National Emergency Commission launched an international campaign, using a variety of media, to familiarize the public with disaster prevention and preparedness measures. The campaign's central themes are Learning Lessons from Nature and Protect Yourself in Time. Aimed at the most frequently occurring disasters in Costa Rica-earthquakes and floods-the campaign will be transmitted through radio and television and will continue through May. Public and private sector financing is being sought to extend the campaign beyond May. For more information write to Ms. Sandra Salazar, Comision Nacional de Emergencia, Departamento de Comunicacion Institucional, Apartado 5258, San Jose, Costa Rica.
El Salvador: Health a Concern in Demobilization Process
Health, basic infrastructure and food are among the priority areas that will receive attention during the peace process in El Salvador, and PAHO, together with Medecins Sans Frontieres is preparing and executing an eight-month emergency plan. Within this period, the plan is designed to provide services for 7800 persons for 30 days in the first phase of an emergency. At a later date, these services will be coordinated and integrated into the country's normal health services.
Caribbean IDNDR Committees to Meet
Thanks to substantial efforts on the part of Caribbean disaster professionals during the last decade, the region has made great strides in developing their disaster preparedness and response capacity. However, as in many other regions of the world, emphasis was placed on disaster preparedness, and fewer resources were committed to disaster prevention and mitigation. Now, with the advent of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, which aims to lessen or reduce the impact of disasters, international attention has begun to focus equally on these important areas.
The idea of organizing a Caribbean forum to address prevention and mitigation issues, and their integration into normal planning activities, has been both recommended and strongly supported by several Caribbean leaders, among them Dame Eugenia Charles, Prime Minister of Dominica and a member of the IDNDR Special High-Level Council, and Mr. Arthur Brown, Governor of the Jamaica Central Bank, and a member of the IDNDR Scientific and Technical Committee. Following the successful meeting last September of 19 Latin American countries on the IDNDR, the Pan American Health Organization will hold a similar meeting from 26-29 May in Jamaica for Caribbean countries. This meeting will be sponsored by CARICOM, the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Development Bank, UNDP, UNDRO, and the IDNDR Secretariat.
This meeting will increase awareness among decision makers and
planners about disaster vulnerability and the need for disaster prevention and
mitigation in the private and public sectors. It will result in a better balance
of priorities between disaster response and preparedness on the one hand, and
disaster mitigation and prevention on the other. Participants are expected to
develop an IDNDR Caribbean Policy that will orient disaster management policies
at all levels-financial, institutional, national, regional, etc. The initiative
will support and complement CARICOM efforts to promote disaster reduction.
South America: Workshop on the Role of Women in Disasters
Following successful meetings in the Caribbean and in Central America, representatives of health sector institutions, women's community groups, civil defense, non-governmental organizations and others met in Bogota in February at the South American Meeting on the Role of Women in Disasters. Participants from 10 countries, including Colombia, which hosted the meeting, exchanged experiences concerning the role of women at the community level, the technical level, and at the decision making level. The workshop organizers are preparing the final report, including the guidelines drafted by the work groups to identify strategies for increasing the participation of women in disaster management, taking advantage of the organizations that already exist in most communities and countries. For further information write Dr. Enrique Silva, Oficina de Emergencias y Desastres, Ministerio de Salud, Calle 16 No. 7-39, Bogota, Colombia.
Do you Mitigation Experience?
Are you an engineer... an architect... (or other professional)
with experience in hospital mitigation? Have you written or collected documents
on mitigating damages caused by disasters to health facilities, water or
sewerage systems of other health sector infrastructure? Send a copy of your
curriculum vitae and any mitigation document you have to Pan American Health
Organization, Emergency Preparedness Program, 525 Twenty-third Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20037, USA.
Ongoing in 1992
Harvard School of Public Health is offering a number of continuing education courses on radiation protection and emergency planning for chemical accidents during 1992. Write for a complete course brochure to the Office of Continuing Education, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, phone (617) 432-1171.
18 May-27 June The Delft University of Technology is organizing an international course for disaster managers and relief officials. The course will take place in the Netherlands, and will offer skills, tools and strategies for disaster reduction. For information on this and on upcoming courses write Disaster Management Programme, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5048, 2600 G A Delft, Netherlands.
30 August-3 September The first Pan-European Conference on Emergency Medical Services will be held in Budapest, Hungary dealing with pre-hospital emergencies, in-hospital emergency medicine and disaster medicine. Write to Eelco Dykstra, M.D., CIEMS, Humboldtstr. 12A, W-6200, Wiesbaden, Germany.
20-23 World Congress on Emergency and Disaster Medicine will be held in Stockholm, Sweden. The program will focus on disasters and emergencies related to extreme weather conditions, sea transportation, chemical and biological warfare agents, and risk assessment, particularly in connection with nuclear plants. Write Stockholm Convention Bureau, WCEDM '93, P.O. Box 6911, S-10239 Stockholm, Sweden.