The tragedies that struck the Asia and Pacific region this month underscore that urgent action must be taken to better protect hospitals from natural disasters. Large-scale human suffering is exacerbated when the very services that are most needed to save lives - hospitals, clinics and other health facilities - are counted among the casualties. Today, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) dedicates its annual International Day for Disaster Reduction to the urgent need to make hospitals safe from disasters. Dozens of hospitals and heath facilities each year are themselves impacted by floods, hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes and other natural hazards because safety measures were not integrated in their design, location or construction. Campaign ensures access to health facilities after natural hazards The "Hospitals safe from disasters" theme was also used for the 2008-09 World Disaster Reduction campaign that culminates today. This two-year campaign has been a joint initiative of ISDR, WHO and the World Bank aimed at ensuring peoples' access to functioning health facilities during and after natural hazards. The ISDR is using today's event to highlight the gains made during the campaign and the work that still needs to be done in making hospitals safer from disasters.
Posted by TH. ROSENBERG MD.,PhD.