F.A. Bauhofer, Geneva In disaster situations, the particular concern of WHO is not so much to offer immediate relief and assistance for affected communities, but to have ready prepared plans for the provision of primary medical care as well as for resuscitation and casualty services. Disast- ers are characterized by a need for rapid assistance and by the inability of affected communities to cope with the large scale mortality, morbidity, and damage to essential installations and homes. In some highly elaborate and centralized societies even small- scale events may assume the proportion of a disaster, if they result in the serious break- down of vital services. The Executive Board of the World Health Organization has defmed disasters or "emergencies", as situations where there are unforeseen, serious, and immediate threats to public health. Particularly severe disasters may be classified as catastrophes; such -occurrences, whether natural or man-made, disturb or overthrow the existing order. For planning purposes, it is important to distinguish between different types of catastrophes since they require special relief measures. In the past, medical assistance was primarily needed in epidemics of, for example, plague, cholera, and smallpox. Today, health authorities face emergency problems brought about by major accidents and outbreaks of chemical pollution and poisoning, which may have long-term effects. The role of health services may differ quite extenSively in different types of cata- strophes, and an attempt must be made to draw up specific plans to deal with them.
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. KG
Number of pages: 356
Weight: 750 g
Dimensions: 244 x 170 x 19 mm