Comparing the Public Health Efforts and Impacts among earthquakes in Central and North America
- A natural disaster that cannot be predicted
- The earthquake that hit El Salvador on January 13th, 2001, measured 7.6 on the Richter scale
- On January 25, 1999, an earthquake struck Colombia with a magnitude of 6.2
- Los Angeles suffered an earthquake measuring 6.7
- All three earthquakes led to devastating structural damage
- The trauma that results from earthquakes can be devastating
- Earthquakes can also present very direct environmental health effects
- Due to their inherent unpredictability, earthquakes can be perceived as an uncontrollable force of destruction
- The Salvadorian, Colombian, and Los Angeles earthquakes actualized many factors that reinforce the benefit of prequake risk surveillance
- Characterizing Earthquake Risks
The earthquakes in El Salvador, Colombia, and Los Angeles produced significant and multidimensional environmental health impacts. Yet the structure of their relief efforts and nature of their impacts on environmental and public health differed substantially from one another. It may seem out of place to characterize a natural disaster such as an earthquake as successful, yet its environmental and public health effects are pervasive and extreme, making it necessary to analyze and qualify the success of relief and preparedness measures. This paper will therefore compare the qualities of environmental health practice and consequences in multiple earthquake relief settings, in an attempt to demonstrate the critical differences leading to a successful disaster response agenda with an emphasis on risk reduction.
[...] Their toll on public and environmental health can be devastating, but through a preparedness paradigm that emphasizes health promotion, communication and surveillance, earthquake damage can be controlled to protect the health of the community. Characterizing Earthquake Risks: Factor: Los Angeles: El Salvador: Colombia: homeless hospitals damanged respiratory coccidioidomycos available infections is density expenditure per capita of affected persons * All statistics not already cited within the text are attributable to the Pan American Health Organization (20). References: Peek-Asa, Corinne, et. [...]
[...] Despite the fact that no community can ever be earthquake the following comparisons will hopefully lead to a better understanding of what public and environmental health components should be in place to produce the best possible post-disaster outcome. The earthquake that hit El Salvador on January 13th measured 7.6 on the Richter scale, the equivalent of 199 tons of dynamite exploding. Its effects were severe, leaving 1,259 dead injured, and 1.6 million homeless or without establishment Overall of El Salvador's entire population was affected, with a mortality rate of 15 per 100,000 people, and in some areas a mortality rate as high as 100 per 100,000. [...]
[...] Massachusetts Medical Society Apr 2003: Vol 348, Iss 14, Pg 1349-1355. ?Earthquake in El Salvador- Some Questions and Answers.? Oxfam Canada. Ottawa: 14 Feb Mar 2005.