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Journal: International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment (IJDRBE)
Theme title: Sustaining Healthcare Facilities Performance during Natural Disasters

Background and Scope

Recent statistics suggest an increase in natural disasters around the world due to climate change and global warming. Although the annual number of fatalities has reduced since the start of the twentieth century, the number of affected people requiring immediate treatment has increased. The discontinuity of medical services in such events has encouraged the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) appeal to not let hospitals be victims of emergencies and it launched a global campaign, Hospitals Safe from Disasters. The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction held in Geneva 16-19 June 2009 concluded by calling for a 50 percent reduction in disaster related deaths by 2015.

Thematic Platform: Disaster Risk Reduction for Health

At the 2009 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, participants supported a proposal to establish a Thematic Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction for Health. The launch of this platform, dedicated to protecting public health through disaster risk reduction, coincides with the International Day for Disaster Reduction on 14 October 2009.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Secretariat for International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) have committed to establish the platform, through which local, national and international partners will collaborate on actions to reduce deaths, injuries and illness from emergencies, disasters and other crises. A key goal of the platform is to improve the health and well-being of millions of people at risk through enhanced risk reduction and emergency preparedness, and by integrating risk reduction in disaster recovery and reconstruction for health.

This document describes the platform’s rationale and terms of reference to facilitate these actions on disaster risk reduction for health.

Real-time loss estimates of earthquakes worldwide
The World Agency of Planetary Monitoring and Earthquke Risk Reduction (WAPMERR) was created in 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland, as a non-profit organization for the purposes of reducing risk due to disasters and for rescue planning after disasters. WAPMERR conducts a variety of research related to:
  • Advancing methods of real-time loss estimates after earthquakes;
  • Estimating the extent of future disasters in scenario mode;
  • Calculating tsunami risks;
  • Characterizing the nature of the building stock in cities at risk; and 
  • Earthquake prediction.