|Disasters Preparedness and Mitigation - Issue No. 33 - January, 1988 (PAHO)|
Caribbean: Health Officials Meet
The Committee of Health Officials met at their second intersessional meeting in Georgetown, Guyana from 12-14 October. Regarding disaster preparedness, the committee recommended that proposals for coordinating health activities, as presented to the Committee, be incorporated into national disaster preparedness programs, and that a small working group of health coordinators be nominated to formulate a Draft Regional Plan for Mass Casualty Management. For further information or copies of Committee documents contact: Mrs. Gloria Noel, Emergency Preparedness Advisor, Pan Caribbean Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Project, P.O. Box 1399, St. John's, Antigua, West Indies.
Nicaragua: Disaster Health Coordinator
The Ministry of Health has named Lic. Violeta Jimenez as their health liaison within the Civil Defense system as the national counterpart responsible for health aspects of disasters and disaster preparedness. Lic. Jimenez may be contacted c/o Ministerio de Salud, Managua, D.N., Nicaragua.
Nicaragua: Seminar on Construction Risks
A three-day seminar was held on construction risks in Managua to analyze specific risks, define short-, medium-, and long-term solutions, and heighten public awareness of the socioeconomic importance of risk prevention. These risks include not only earthquakes, as evidenced by the 1972 quake that killed 10,000, but also volcanic threats and the problems posed by temporary settlements. For a complete copy of the recommendations of this seminar write Sr. Leonel Arguello Ramirez, Presidente Ejecutivo, Instituto Nicaraguense de Seguros y Reaseguros (INISER), Apartado 1147, Managua, Nicaragua.
Costa Rica: School Safety Program
In the last issue of this Newsletter we mentioned the school disaster safety program initiated by the Ministry of Public Education, in collaboration with the Universidad Estatal a Distancia, the Comisión Nacional de Emergencia, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, and PAHO. Simulation exercises were carried out in four schools during the month of November, 1987 and an additional fifty schools will be tested during 1988 as part of this national project. Pamphlets on how to cope with earthquakes and fires are being developed as well as teachers' guides. For further information on this initiative write Sr. Juan Jose Avila, Encargado Proyecto Seguridad Escolar, Ministerio de Educación Pública, San José, Costa Rica.
Venezuela: Disaster Pamphlets
The Civil Defense of Venezuela has published a series of booklets on disasters that list the effects of each particular type and protection measures that can be taken to safeguard oneself and property. Topics covered include earthquakes and tsunamis; hurricanes; forest fires; and accidents and nuclear disasters. For sample copies (in Spanish only) write to Dirección General de Defensa Civil, Gobierno del Distrito Federal, Zona Rental, Plaza Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela.
Country Profile: Colombia
Colombia's National Disaster Program submitted the following report of recent activities:
· support of and participation in the elaboration of a proposal to place the disaster preparedness program within the national health system structure at each level;
For further information on Colombia's national disaster program contact:
Coordinador Nacional, Plan Nacional de Preparativos para.
Desastres, Ministerio de Salud, Apartado Aéreo 12226, Bogotá, D.E.
Emergency Health Management in Large Urban Areas
Latin America is experiencing an explosive rate of population growth in many of its large metropolitan areas. Mexico City, São Paulo, Lima - to name a few - all feel the burden of providing adequate health care for the growing numbers who require them. The rate at which the population is growing overall, coupled with the demographic shift from rural to urban areas, has made many cities, which only a short time ago could manage these problems, more vulnerable than ever.
These emerging and growing metropolitan areas share a similar vulnerability to disasters-both natural and technological. This was the theme of a recent PAHO workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 9-11 December on Emergency Health Management and Planning in Large Metropolitan Areas. More than 70 participants from Latin American cities, as well as experts from Europe, Africa, Asia and North America attended the workshop, whose main objectives were to:
· promote a multisectoral approach to disaster prevention, preparedness and response in large cities;
Below is a synopsis of the recommendations presented by the work groups that met during the meeting.
To improve management in times of natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes, the groups recommended:
· creating an inter-agency communication system with one institution coordinating all actions;
The work groups also discussed the threats of manmade disasters to large urban areas. One of the most prominent is aircraft accidents. The groups recommended that:
· the health sector actively participate in formulating airport safety plans;