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 3. Action by the community The coordination committee

To make the efforts of the community, mobilized after disaster has struck, more effective, the local authority must at once set up a committee with the task of coordinating action to cope with the emergency. The committee takes stock of the consequences of the disaster and concerns itself with the essential problems:

Rescue operations: Where are there people to be rescued (collapsed buildings, places invaded by mud, isolated families, fires)? What means should be used?


Figure

Water: Is there water available? How can the water supply be ensured (tanker-trucks or other means of distributing water, urgent repair of the pre-existing water supply network, creation of new supply points)?

Shelter: Is temporary shelter needed for the victims of the disaster? How can it be provided (public buildings, tents, other means)? Food; Is there a shortage of food? What steps can be taken to ensure food supply (stocks on the spot, outside assistance) and distribution? Communications: What means of communication can be used (radio, telephone, other)?

Transport: What roads are practicable? By what means of transport? Do means of transport exist?

Gradually the Committee will organize itself to deal with the post-disaster period, assigning responsibilities in various fields:


health,
transport and highway maintenance; communications and information,
water supply, food, means of survival,
public works, building,
sanitation,
public order.
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