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 5. Action by the community Analysis of past experience

If the area has already been the scene of disasters, any activity concerned with the disaster-preparedness of the community and the local health personnel must take analysis of past experience as its point of departure. Questions should be asked such as the following:


· What caused the victims and the damage?
· What were the main difficulties in the relief work?
· What were the problems in the subsequent hours and days?
· Would it have been possible to foresee the disaster?
· What preparedness would have limited the number of victims and the damage?
· What errors were made which must not be repeated?
· What actions did the most good?

As concerns the local health personnel in particular, it may be asked, for example:


· What types of emergency case occurred and what was it possible to do for them?
· What problems were encountered in the reception of the injured?
· What supplies were lacking?
· What difficulties arose in sending the injured to properly equipped hospitals?
· Would it have been possible to obtain better cooperation from the volunteers?
· What were the difficulties of coordination with the authorities and the other community groups?
· How would it have been possible to obtain more effective outside assistance?
· What health problems arose after the disaster and what were the difficulties in coping with them?
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