Topic: Reducing Risks and Containing the Spread of Diseases During Natural Disasters
Global warming and global urbanization are increasing the number of natural disasters. Higher temperatures bring more droughts and increased wind speeds. Rising sea levels subject even elevated locations to ocean currents during occurrences of floods and tsunamis. Furthermore, higher temperatures cause more water to evaporate, which creates stronger storms and turns them into tropical storms.
Natural disasters facilitate epidemics, which in turn are outbreaks of communicable diseases that spread through a human population. In the chaos following a natural disaster, communicable diseases typically spread very easily. Some of the reasons why they spread are due to the lack of sanitary facilities, the lack of healthcare services, crowds and mismanagement of human remains.
A communicable disease, also called infectious disease, is transmitted from an infectious agent to a susceptible host (e.g. from human to human) either by direct contact or indirectly via the surrounding environment. Also, it can be transmitted via an animal, a plant host or from another vector like a Mosquito.
Furthermore, people with HIV, malnutrition or tuberculosis are more vulnerable to communicable diseases. Poverty factors like poor hygiene, lack of health related education, clean drinking water and pollution are also making people more vulnerable. Due to these poverty factors in third world countries where natural disasters often occur, the general populations recovery takes years. To further worsen things the limited resources these developing countries end up gathering often get compromised. Furthermore, increased global travel can turn an epidemic into a pandemic, which is the outbreak of a communicable disease on a global level. Infection prevention and infection control are essential. Early detection, isolation and reporting of diseases are very important.
The World Health Organization is supporting governments to successfully manage infection prevention and infection control through monitoring current health trends, providing the technical support, supporting research, promoting norms and policy options and by engaging in symbiotic partnerships.