Natural Disasters and Health Care

Topics: Emergency management, Health care, Emergency evacuation Pages: 13 (3411 words) Published: December 1, 2012
Impact of Natural Disasters on Health Care

Submitted by – Dalton Divakaran
MS Health Care Management
University of Texas at Dallas



Types of Disasters

Effects of Disaster on Economy

Effect of Disaster on Health Care Organization
* Sudden Influx
* Damage to Facilities
* Inadequately Prepared
* Specialty Treatment Availability

Effects on the Population
* Immediate Health Impact
* Long-Term Impacts

Steps in Disaster Management
* Mitigation
* Preparedness
* Response
* Recovery

Real Incident Study
* Background:
* Immediate Response Considerations:
* Evacuation:
* Special Immediate Concerns:
* Recovery Process:
* Facility Considerations:
* Lessons Learned at This Point in Response/Recovery:
* Takeaways from this incident:



According to Disasters means “a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood…”

Disasters such as Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, tornados, epidemic disease outbreaks and more can damage any population and have a tremendous effect on the health care organizations that respond. Many health care organizations face major challenges during natural disasters. There are many different causes for those challenges.According to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in 2002, international disasters affected 608 million people and killed more than 24,000. The recent natural disaster in the United States for this year 2011(May 22, 2011) was the tornado Joplin in Missouri; 160 fatalities were reported in this natural disaster.

Types of Disasters

I. Natural disasters
E.g.: Avalanches, Earthquakes, Volcanic eruptions.

II. Hydrological disasters
E.g.: Floods, Tsunamis.

III. Meteorological disasters
E.g.: Blizzards, Cyclonic storms, Droughts, Hailstorms, Heat waves, Tornadoes, Fires.

IV. Health disasters
E.g.: Epidemics, Famines

V. Space disasters
E.g.: Impact events, Solar flares, Gamma ray burst.

VI. Technological disasters:
E.g.: Chemical spills.

VII. Complex emergencies:
E.g.: Civil wars and conflicts.

Effects of Disaster on Economy
Developing countries suffer more economic losses than developed countries. The common factor is that, the poor are the ones who suffer the most, in both developed and developing nations. Although the total economic loss in dollars is greater in developed countries, the percentage of losses relative to the gross national product in developing countries far exceeds that of developed nations. Technological disasters and complex emergencies are not easily predictable. The major source of disasters in the 21st century may be due to rapid increase of Technological hazards, unregulated industrialization of developing countries and the globalization of the chemical industry.

Effect of Disaster on Health Care Organization

Sudden Influx
* The biggest challenge after an aftermath is to provide emergency treatment. The sudden influx of patients to a facility and the need for emergency responders in many places at the same time puts a strain on the health care organizations in the local area. Outside sources like the Red Cross would pitch-in for help in rescue and relief operations in the following days of the incident. However, the responsibility of handling the initial emergency care lies with the local health care departments. Damage to Facilities

* The other effects of natural disaster are the loss\degrading of equipment and facility due to sudden spurt in the patients handled at the same time. The demand for all possible medical resources is the possibility that some of the resources may not be available because of direct damage from the natural disaster itself. For example floods may disrupt power supply...
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