( By A Working Guide (WHO - OMS, 1989) )

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This publication could not have appeared without the valuable assistance of Dr Luciano Carrino, Health Department, Cooperation in Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy, who drafted and reviewed the various versions. Dr S. William Gunn launched the publication when he was in charge of WHO’S Emergency Relief Operations (1977-1984); he also reviewed the final text in his capacity of Scientific Vice-President of the European Centre for Disaster Medicine.

WHO also wishes to thank Ferruccio Ferrigni and Patrick de Maisonneuve for their contributions on architecture and town planning; Teresa Volpe who prepared the original drawings; Giulia Dario for her advice on community action; Guido Bertolaso, Marta di Gennaro, Guglielmo Riva, Enzo Lucchetti, Carol Djeddah, Agostino Miozzo, Giancarlo Samaritan and the health team of the Department for Cooperation in Development of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for information and documentation on emergency health action; Adriano Mantovani for his contribution on veterinary medicine; Jos� Luis Zeballos, Dorothy Blake, Jose Maria Paganini, Marc Parent, Don Washington, Luis Jorge Perez, Carmen Bowen-Wright, Miguel Gueri; the University of Louvain’s Disaster Epidemiology Team led by Michel Lechat; the participants in the WHO meetings on health activities in the event of disasters held in Rabat (1981), Trieste (1984), Ankara (1985), Brazzaville (1986) and Marrakesh (1986); and all the other experts consulted.

Thanks also go to the teams in health centres/local hospitals at Giugliano (Italy), Ayapel (Colombia), Port Antonio (Jamaica) and Dire (Mali) who allowed us to field-test various parts of this manual.

Finally, acknowledgements are also due to the Campania Region and to the International Centre for Research-Intervention in Naples, which provided organizational support.

The following members of staff of WHO and the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (LORCS) also collaborated in this publication: Thomas Bergmann (LORCS), Claude de Ville de Goyet (WHO/Pan American Health Organization), Olavi Elo (WHO), Concetto Guttuso (WHO), John Jones (WHO), Andrei Kisselev (LORCS), Sten Kistner (LORCS) and Michael Tailhades (LORCS).

This Guide is in three parts:

· The first part deals with rescue work and emergency care immediately after the disaster has struck.
· The second deals with action to be taken when the acute period of the disaster is over.
· The third describes what can be done at local level to prevent and mitigate the consequences of disasters.

Each part consists of two chapters:

· The first describes what the community can do.
· The second describes what the local health personnel can do.

But the action of the community and that of the local health personnel are closely linked. In disaster situations, the local health personnel sometimes need to act as a referral point for the population, to solve problems relating to survival or to the general organization of the community.

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