Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 221, 11 to 17 Aug 2008

from World Health Organization
Published on 15 Aug 2008 View Original
Each week, the World Health Organization Health Action in Crises in Geneva produces information highlights on critical health-related activities in countries where there are humanitarian crises. Drawing on the various WHO programmes, contributions cover activities from field and country offices and the support provided by WHO regional offices and headquarters. The mandate of the WHO departments specifically concerned with Emergency and Humanitarian Action in Crises is to increase the effectiveness of the WHO contribution to crisis preparedness and response, transition and recovery. This note, which is not exhaustive, is designed for internal use and does not reflect any official position of the WHO Secretariat.


WHO urges all parties to respect the neutrality of health facilities, staff and ambulances and to enable all victims to reach medical care.

An inter-agency meeting on the crisis chaired by the DERC was held on 12 August.

UN agencies will launch a Flash Appeal on 18 August focusing on emergency life-saving assistance for the coming 4 to 6 months.

The ICRC has launched a US$ 7.4 million appeal to meet the needs of around 50 000 people.

Assessments and Events

- The official death toll is 175, mostly civilians. Unofficial estimates put the number of injured at about 500, increasing the need for trauma care. An estimated 60 000 people have been displaced from both South Ossetia and the neighbouring areas. Many will return as roads are opening but 15 000 to 20 000 are expected to remain in IDP centres across Georgia.

- Expected health needs include the provision of water, food and medical supplies. Everything is operational in Tbilisi. Georgia has not requested international humanitarian assistance. Authorities in the Russian Federation are managing the health needs of people who have entered into their territories.


- Georgia's MoH is coordinating the entire humanitarian assistance effort.

- The WHO Regional Office for Europe (EURO) is collaborating with HAC to monitor the situation through the Country Office in Georgia and the North Caucasus Field Office in Vladikavkaz (Russian Federation).

- International humanitarian work is coordinated by the UN Country Team in Georgia and by the OCHA-led inter-agency group at the international level. EURO recruited an emergency health coordinator for the Country Office and experts from EURO and headquarters will soon join the Country Team.

- In Russia, the WHO Country Office visited the central district hospital in Alagir and reports that all necessary health services were functioning normally. WHO also visited the MoH where it distributed technical guidelines on The provision of health care services in settlements, Mental health in emergencies and The management of dead bodies in disaster situations.

- WHO emergency activities are so far supported by its regular budget.