|Disasters Preparedness and Mitigation - Issue No. 54 - April, 1993 (PAHO)|
Caribbean: Tradewinds '93
St. Lucia will be the venue for the Tradewinds '93 exercise from 1-6 Jane. An earthquake following the eruption of Soufrière, the island's volcano, will be simulated. A bread range of players has participated in planning for multi-scenario risks to the Island population. The implementation of SUMA, The Supply Management System Following Disasters, will be highlighted during the Tradewinds exercise.
For more information on the Tradewinds '93 exercise, contact Mr. Timothy James, National Disaster Coordinator, PO Box 1517, St. Lucia; fax: 809-453-2 152.
Trinidad & Tobago Hands-on Experience for SUMA Trainees
The 4.1 version of SUMA software, the SUpply MAnagement System Following Disasters, was tested during an exercise held in Port-of-Spain. Trinidad. on 15 April 1993. A perfect training experience for SUMA teams from Trinidad. Guyana. and Grenada took place when the Government of Trinidad provided them access to a cache of unsorted medical supplies. At the end of the exercise. grateful officials received a complete inventory of the goods-and trainees received their certificates.
The SUMA software and accompanying operation manuals are now being distributed in English and Spanish. Contact the editor of this newsletter for information.
Disaster Emergency Medicine Training Course. The first in the series of Disaster Emergency Medicine Training Courses at UWI Cave Hill Campus was conducted during February and March, to update the skills of physicians responsible for accident and emergency treatment. who will in turn begin training sessions in their respective countries. The OECS-PAHO-French Cooperation project sponsored students from four OECS countries. to encourage the exchange of skills and training between English and French-speaking countries in the Caribbean. Two other OECS participants were sponsored by their own Governments. For information about upcoming courses contact Dr. R.P. Naidu, Faculty of Medical Science, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, St. Michael, Barbados; fax (809) 429-6738.
Mass Casualty Management Consultation. The handling of casualties in three scenarios-maritime accidents, airport accidents, and hotel fires - was analyzed by working groups in a one-day consultation on mass casualty management in Barbados on 17 March. The meeting was organized by the Barbados Central Emergency Relief Organization (CERO). to strengthen coordination among agencies responding to such situations. Drawing both on personal experiences and conclusions made during the Barbados Tradewinds '92 simulation, participants stressed the importance of having pre-established command post procedures specific to each level of operation.
Colombia: Master's Program Established
A new Master's program in the Department of Social Work at the University of Antioquia in contemporary social problems will emphasize social development in emergency and disaster situations. For more information contact: Lic. Maria Victoria Muñoz H., Coordinadora Post-grado, Departamento de Trabajo Social, Apartado Aereo 1226, Postal 229, Universidad dc Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia.
Exchange of Training Materials. In January, faculty responsible for teaching disaster management in the San Marcos, Cayetano Heredia, and Federico Villareal Universities and the School of Public Health in Peru met with librarians from these same institutions at a workshop to exchange texts and audiovisual materials in disaster management. This was the first phase in a project that aims to establish a network of university and hospital libraries throughout Peru where the latest information in the field of disaster preparedness and prevention will be made available to professionals students. and researchers. The project will receive support from the PAHO/WHO Documentation Center in Lima and the Disaster Documentation Center in San José. For more information, please contact Dr. Nelson Raul Morales Soto, Advisor for the Emergency Preparedness Program, OPS/OMS, Casilla 2117, Lima 100, Peru.
University Programs in Emergency and Disaster Medicine. At a seminar held in March in Lima. university faculty discussed the distribution of educational activities in emergency and disaster medicine in Peru. In northern Peru. the University of Trujillo will emphasize the production of educational materials for undergraduates and scientific research in the subject; the University of San Marcos in Lima will take on the residence program in Emergency and Disaster Medicine; in the south, the National University of San Agustin and Catholic University will work together to develop an associate degree in Emergency and Disaster Medicine Technology. At the University of Cusco, the medicine and anthropology faculties will develop a program on community participation in disaster preparedness in rural areas, a project initiated by PAHO/WHO. the Italian Cooperation, and the Peruvian Ministry of Health.
Cuba Hit by Storm
One of the most violent tropical storms in recent history hit Cuba on 13 March 1993. Winds reached 160 km/h and over 150,000 people were affected, with tens of thousands requiring shelter. On much of the island, drinking water supply and sanitation facilities. food storage and distribution systems, and housing were either destroyed or severely disrupted. Staple food crops were devastated. The maternity hospital in Havana was evacuated and its entire stock of antibiotics and vaccines was lost. The hospital's food stores, blood bank and laboratory facilities were severely damaged.
The national relief services responded immediately in maintaining basic food supplies and water to the population. PAHO, along with other international relief organizations, provided assistance in the procurement of medicines and food staples
Floods in Ecuador
Heavy rains caused an enormous landslide on 29 March which dammed
the Paute River and created an extensive lagoon. The result has been serious
flooding in the southern part of Ecuador in Azuay and Canar Provinces. near the
city of Cuenca. Evacuation of the vicinity is ongoing. Since most relief items
are available locally, international assistance is being sought in the form of
financial and technical assistance. Staff from PAHO's subregional emergency
preparedness offices are on the scene, consulting in the area of sanitary
engineering and health needs assessment. Members of the SUMA team
in the area have been mobilized to administer the Supply Management Project.