Managing Health Risks during the Balkans Floods
American Journal of Climate Change
Floods have always had and will continue to have significant consequences for society. In May 2014, there was widespread flooding in the Balkans affecting Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. The aim of this article is to show that resilient and proactive health systems that anticipate needs and challenges are more likely to reduce risks and respond effectively during emergencies, saving lives and alleviating human suffering. The method draws on multiple sources of information, including
... ormation, including a Balkan case study questionnaire survey with public health professionals involved in response to floods (n = 18) from three affected countries, and focus group discussion results (n = 43) presented at the meeting on "Prevention, preparedness and response to reduce or avoid health effects of flood events", held in Bonn, Germany, in October 2015. The proposed range of measures to protect population health, organized around flood prevention, preparedness, response and recovery listed issues and considerations largely corresponds to the identified needs by Member State requests, following the Balkan country experiences. The consideration of lessons for early warning, preparedness and response and the integration of research results would lead to improved preparedness measures to better prevent flooding risks. Experiences in the WHO European Region point to a need to shift the emphasis from disaster response to long-term risk management.