Facing Disasters: Hurricane Mitch: The Costa Rican Experience

Daniel K. Rodriguez, Mario Saenz
1999 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine  
Abstracts: 11th World Congress, Osaka, Japan lishing a support system to provide appropriate emergency dental care to victims of large-scale, natural disasters in cities. Natural disasters such as floods, droughts, earthquakes, hailstones, storms, forest fires, and so on usually cause great destruction that affects the living of humankind and social development. The floods of 1991 in the low reach, and in 1998 in the upper and middle reaches of Yangtze River as well as in Northeast China's
more » ... ang and Songhua Rivers, have resulted in huge, direct economic losses, personnel injuries, and deaths. On the one hand, implementation of Disaster Medicine can reduce effectively the mortality rate of victims in the flooded areas. On the other hand, Disaster Medicine not only consists of the performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the site, but also to provide for disaster relief under strong, organized leadership, unified command, and effective coordination. From the experience of the battle against floods in 1998, the authors believe that the following essential factors must be observed in order to strive for victory against floods: 1) Establish a lead group that consists of health administration, the departments of medicine, and the Logistic Health Unit of the related military command that is responsible for implementation of first aid on-site, hygiene, medical supplies, patient transportation, etc.; 2) Foster a dedicated spirit among medical team members and other volunteers, and to assume the responsibility for the life and the belongings of victims; 3) Popularize training in CPR methods, and raise the consciousness of self-and mutual-aid in the whole population; 4) Conduct a series of hygiene measures as early as possible in order to prevent epidemic outbreaks; and 5) Guarantee communications and logistic support. In summary, we should emphasize the social property of Disaster Medicine, and organize and mobilize every effort into the action of disaster relief.
doi:10.1017/s1049023x00033690 fatcat:camooaeturcxnnzuqorzz4i2ma