Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance

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Washington, DC. PAHO. 7 April 2009.- Director's article published in several countries in the region (Guatemala, Costa Rica, Barbados, República Dominicana, Caribbean Net News, Bolivia, Nicaragua)
When a disaster strikes, our most immediate concern is to save lives, help the injured, and restore well-being to the affected communities. This cannot be accomplished without a vital element: our hospitals. However, more than half of them--that is, over 8,000 in Latin America and the Caribbean, are located in high-risk areas. If these health facilities cease their operations because of a disaster, the repercussions will be infinitely worse. This year, therefore, World Health Day underscored the need for safe hospitals.
World Health Day 2009, PAHO(7/Apr/2009)
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Logros en Salud en Centroamérica: Cinco años después de Mitch
Cinco años después del huracán Mitch—uno de los desastres más devastadores en la historia de Centroamérica—los países más afectados han hecho avances muy importantes en la reducción de su vulnerabilidad a los desastres. Esta publicación se enfoca en muchos de estos logros: hospitales y sistemas de salud más seguros; comunidades mejor preparadas para enfrentarse a las consecuencias para la salud de los desastres; información al día y mucho más.(17/Feb/2004)
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Villa Centenario OPS - Chronicle of healthy housing after a disaster
The Villa Centenario OPS, an anti-seismic housing complex, was developed in El Salvador to benefit people affected by the earthquakes of January and February 2001. This publication relates the participation of the different actors who made possible, in El Salvador, the first experience in the Americas where a new vision is used to build healthy housing and human settlements. In Spanish only(16/Oct/2002)
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Disaster Chronicles - Eartquakes in El Salvador 2001
The chronicle describes actions and analyzes the efficiency of the disaster preparedness programs, their impact on the health sector response in the assistance and recovery stages. It includes a list of lessons learned geared toward health sector workers and managers, that will help draw conclusions of interest for the management of future emergencies and disaster situations.In Spanish only.(22/Aug/2002)
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Virtual Disaster Library -Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance
This edition of this electronic collection (available on line and on CD-ROM) incorporates the most important works published by the Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, UNHCR, UNICEF, Project SPHERE, the Red International Cross Movement, and several non-governmental organizations. This edition has a new more powerful and improved search engine and all the documents are available in HTML and many in PDF format. With more than 400 scientific and technical documents, this collection is the most important information tool on these topics. (31/Dec/2002)
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Photo Gallery: Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance
This page features some of the best photos of natural and manmade disasters in the Americas that includes earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, volcanoes, chemical accidents, and others miscellaneous photos of major disasters from PAHO Member Countries.(19/Feb/2002)
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Myths and Realities of Natural Disasters
Myths have surrounded the occurrence of natural disaster phenomena since the beginnings of civilization. This video presents some popular beliefs in the context of some of the most devastating disasters to occur in the Region of the Americas. It emphasizes the importance of dispelling certain myths through education and understanding of actual events. (6/Jan/2002)
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Earthquake in Mexico
This program documents health problems and response activities following the earthquake that devastated Mexico City on 18 September 1985. Thousands of people were killed, some 420 buildings collapsed and more than 50,000 homes were damaged. The video also focuses on the chaos resulting from the arrival of tons of unsolicited relief supplies that in most cases did not meet the actual needs of earthquake victims.(5/Jan/2002)
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Other Resources

Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance Homepage
Information about all aspects of disasters -- preparedness, response, mitigation -- including scientific and technical publications, lists of contacts and news from Latin America and the Caribbean.(8/Aug/2004)
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Dengue in El Salvador
In recent months the endemic dengue disease has gotten worse in El Salvador, turning into a national priority. In light of this situation, the President has declared a state of emergency caused by Dengue in several departments. Although, the PAHO/WHO Representative Office in El Salvador is helping with these efforts, the resources are limited and necessary. For this reason, the Pan American Health Organization is calling on the international community to cooperate with this event.(24/Jun/2002)
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Healthy Housing is a Part of PAHO
VIVISAL, short for "Vivienda Saludable" or healthy housing, is a new PAHO initiative to provide housing and health services for families left homeless after the earthquakes that struck El Salvador in January and February 2001. In honor of PAHO's centennial, the 100 houses will be numbered from 1902 to 2002. A team of engineers from PAHO's El Salvador office developed the prototype. These houses are low-cost but more resistant to damage from earthquakes and other natural hazards. In addition to helping families devastated by the disaster, El Salvador's Vice Ministry of Housing has adopted the model as the basis for rural reconstruction throughout the country.(2/May/2002)
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Periodical Publications

PAHO Today - August 2006 Edition
PAHO Today is the newsletter of the Pan American Health Organization. In this edition: Remembering Dr. Lee, World Health Assembly Set New Priorities for Global Health, PAHO Assists U.N. Pandemic Flu Efforts, more.(9/Aug/2006)
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Disasters: Preparedness and Mitigation in the Americas-April 2004, No. 95
In this issue, an analysis is made of past failures of international interventions in Haiti. The recent crisis in that country makes is necessary for the international community to make a concerted effort, so that whatever help that reaches the country this time is not wasted.(21/May/2004)
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en español     PDF(448.02k)   HTML  

Disasters: Preparedness and Mitigation in the Americas-January 2004, No. 94
This issue's editorial deals with the earthquake in Bam, Iran (Dec. 2003) and the use of field hospitals after the disaster. There is also a report on an important course on e-learning. An 8-page supplement on disaster mitigation in hospitals is also included.(10/Feb/2004)
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en español     PDF(870.12k)   HTML  

Technical Documents

Preparativos en salud, agua y saneamiento para la respuesta local ante desastres
Esta publicación destaca la importancia de la participación activa de los sectores de salud, agua y saneamiento en la organización local de los preparativos y la respuesta, y ofrece pautas para facilitar el desarrollo de medidas oportunas y eficaces que protejan la integridad de la población y la de su entorno, en situaciones de emergencias y desastres.(21/Sep/2007)
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¿Cómo reducir el impacto de los desastres en los sistemas de agua y saneamiento rural?
Esta publicación presenta los principales impactos de los fenómenos naturales en los sistemas rurales de agua y saneamiento y propone medidas para reducir las vulnerabilidades que originan estos daños, con la finalidad de que se incluyan en la planificación, diseño y construcción de esta infraestructura y en los procesos de rehabilitación y/o reconstrucción, cuando los daños ya han sido reportados.(19/Sep/2007)
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Guía para la vigilancia y control de la calidad del agua en situaciones de emergencia y desastre
Esta publicación presenta las principales acciones para el monitoreo de la calidad del agua para consumo humano durante situaciones de emergencia y desastre, considerando las necesidades inmediatamente posteriores al evento adverso hasta la rehabilitación de los servicios, con el fin de garantizar agua segura a la población afectada.(19/Sep/2007)
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