The series of documents entitled Mitigation of Disasters in
Health Facilities: Evaluation and Reduction of Physical and Functional
Vulnerability has been prepared by the Pan American Health Organization for
national, provincial, or municipal authorities (Volume 1: General Issues);
owners of buildings, administrators, staff members, and other personnel
connected with health installations (Volume 11: Administrative Issues);
designers, architects, builders, and educators (Volume 111: Architectural
Issues); and for design engineers, planners, builders, and educators (Volume IV:
The purpose of the series is to inform the people involved in the
planning, operation, management, and design of health services concerning
possible effects of natural disasters on health installations. The idea is to
provide a useful tool that makes it possible to incorporate risk mitigation
procedures both in the inspection of existing installations and in the design
and construction of new buildings and services.
Each volume in the series deals with specific subjects related to
the potential problems that can arise when a disaster occurs and, also,
discusses the measures that should be taken to mitigate risk, placing special
emphasis on the necessary requirements to ensure that installations can continue
functioning during and immediately after a sudden impact disaster.
Although health installations can be affected by a broad spectrum
of natural phenomena such as earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, volcanic
eruptions, floods, etc., as well as by man-made disasters, such as fires,
explosions, gas leaks, and others, the series emphasizes the seismic problem,
given that it is the natural phenomenon that has most affected health
installations in the world and since, if its direct and indirect effects can be
reduced, the risk posed by other phenomena, whose impact is normally less than
that which earthquakes can cause, will also be lowered.
The manuals for architects and engineers address professionals
familiar with architectural design and with structural analysis and design,
respectively. Their approach is to raise concern about traditional techniques
and to contribute proposals that are not usually to be found in the standard,
specialized reference books.
The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization has
chosen to promote the preparation and publication of this series as a
contribution to the goals of the International Decade for Natural Disaster
Omar Dario Cardona A.