Health and Disaster

Authored by: Mark Keim , Jonathan Abrahams

The Routledge Handbook of Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415590655
eBook ISBN: 9780203844236
Adobe ISBN: 9781136918698


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Saving lives and the protection of people’s health are among the most critical objectives of disaster risk management and reduction. ‘Saving lives’ is often mentioned in the mission statements of community safety organisations, but this phrase runs the risk of narrowing the attention to actions that treat the symptoms of the event but do not adequately address the actual causes of the health emergency. Disaster risk management as applied to health, hereafter referred to as health emergency management (HEM), optimises health outcomes through actions to assess, avoid and treat risks that occur as a result of the interaction of hazards and health vulnerabilities in the community. Health is not just the responsibility of the health sector: there are many in other sectors, as well as the community, who contribute to the management of health risks and to these health outcomes.

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