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COPING WITH NATURAL DISASTERS: THE ROLE OF LOCAL HEALTH PERSONNEL AND THE COMMUNITY
( By A Working Guide (WHO - OMS, 1989) )

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Chapter 6.Preparedness activities for the population

In communities particularly exposed to the risk of disaster, local health personnel can include disaster-preparedness activities in the ordinary health programmes. For example, ordinary hygiene programmes can also deal with the problems of, and the way to behave in, the particular hygienic situation that arises as the result of an earthquake or a flood.

Disaster-preparedness activities are included in programmes focused on certain population groups:


schools, occupational training centres,
workplaces,
neighbourhood groups,
associations, groups of volunteers, etc.

Below are a few examples of the content of disaster-preparedness initiatives:


A. Training in first aid



how to lift and transport an injured person,
how to clear the airways and carry out artificial respiration,
how to stop a haemorrhage,
what to do in the case of burns, drowning, electrocution, snakebite, poisoning, etc.


B. Activities to ascertain health risks. The compilation of risk maps.

C. Exercises in sanitation and hygiene.




utilization of safe water,
fly control,
vector control,
rodent control,
the protection of foodstuffs,
use of latrines,
ensuring a clean environment, controlled refuse disposal,
measures against lice, scabies, parasites, etc.


D. Activities concerned with the health education of groups at risk.

E. Health activities as part of twinning arrangements.

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