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Complex Emergencies

Warraich, H., Zaidi, A. K., & Patel, K. (2011). Floods in Pakistan: a public health crisis. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 89(3), 236-237.
According to this note by the WHO, the impact of floods in terms of health deserves immediate attention. Resources and rescue efforts have been spread thin due to the war in the tribal areas. Furthermore, widespread mistrust of governmental agencies, primarily stemming from perceived corruption and mismanagement, has hindered donors and citizens from cooperating with governmental initiatives. Thus, there has been a dire need for a coordinated public response, particularly to control the outbreak of infectious diseases. Meanwhile,despite the availability and recommendation of an oral cholera vaccine for use in humanitarian emergencies by WHO,it has not been used in flood-affected areas due to perceived logistic difficulties in delivery. Thus, the note recommends the use of early disease outbreak through geographic information systems software such as Google Earth. It advocates preventing infectious disease transmission as the main focus of relief efforts. This means providing adequate hygiene and sanitation particularly in diarrhoeal disease prevention. It also emphasizes on the flood victims’ need for safe water and information about the benefits of maintaining hygienic practices.Mass vaccination for children against measles and cholera has also been emphasized.

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