Catastrophes - Natural and Man-Made Disasters

  • Peter J. Baxter

Abstract

Natural disasters are a growing public health problem in the increasing number of events and the numbers of people affected. This chapter focuses on some of the background health issues behind this global trend as they apply to aid workers. Technological disasters differ in many important respects from natural disasters in their causes and health impacts, and their frequency is much lower as they are inherently preventable by engineers and government regulation. Avoiding technological disasters is more straightforward than mitigating natural hazards, but disaster workers should include both types of disaster in an all-hazards approach to planning and preparedness. Thus an earthquake may trigger the failure of a hazardous installation such as a nuclear reactor, or floodwaters may become contaminated with toxic materials. Man-made humanitarian emergencies from conflicts or political repression (complex disasters) may also be complicated by natural hazards, or responses to events such as floods in war zones can be inhibited by the threat of landmines.

Keywords

Debris Flow Tropical Cyclone Natural Disaster Natural Hazard Storm Surge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Nojij EK, editor. The public health consequences of disasters. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Smil V China’s great famine: 40 years later. BMJ 1999;319:1619–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Epstein PR. Climate and health. Science 1999;285:347–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bouma MJ, Kovats RS, Goubet SA, Cox JStH, Haines A. Global assessment of El Nino’s disaster burden. Lancet 1997;350:1435–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Blaikie P, Cannon T, Davis I, Wisner B. At risk: natural hazards, people’s vulnerability, and disasters. London: Routledge, 1994.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Safar P. Resuscitation potentials in mass disasters. Prehosp Disaster Med 1986;2:34–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    National Research Council. The impacts of natural disasters: a framework for loss estimation. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Board on Natural Disasters. Mitigation emerges as major strategy for reducing losses caused by natural disasters. Science 1999;284:1943–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Glass RE, Urrutia JJ, Sibornis S, Smith H. Earthquake injuries related to housing in a Guatemalan village. Science 1979;197:638–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Guhar-Sapir D, Carballo M. Medical relief in earthquakes. J R Soc Med 2000;93:59–61.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Coburn A, Spence R Earthquake protection. Chichester: Wiley, 1992.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Baba S, Tanaguchi H, Nambi S, Tsuboi S, Ishihara K, Osato S. The Great Hanshin earthquake. Lancet 1996;347:307–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pielke RA Jr, Pielke RA Sr. Hurricanes: their nature and impacts on society. Chichester: Wiley, 1997.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. World Disasters Report. Geneva, 1999.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Smith K, Ward R. Floods: physical processes and human impacts. Chichester: Wiley, 1998.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    McCall M, Salama P. Selection, training and support of relief workers: an occupational health issue. BMJ 1999;318:113–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Scarpa R, Tilling RI. Monitoring and mitigation of volcanic hazards. Berlin: Springer, 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Baxter

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations