Dispelling Earthquake Disaster Myths
- Dead bodies rarely spread disease
- Earthquakes rarely trigger major epidemics
Following the earthquake, most pressing public health concerns in Port-au-Prince and surrounding affected areas will include:
- Adequate quantity and quality of water
- Food security
- Appropriate shelter and protection from the elements
- Prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal, respiratory, and vector-borne illnesses
- Provision of health services to prevent maternal and infant deaths
- Prevention of violence and further unintentional injury
- Treatment of kidney failure due to crush injuries
- Prevention of deaths from infected wounds
- Prevention and treatment of inflamed lung tissue caused by concrete dust
Public Health Priorities
- Reduce and prevent further deaths, injuries, and illnesses
- Determine and meet critical needs for water and sanitation, healthcare, and food
- Verify the status of healthcare facilities and assist in standing up healthcare services
- Assess and address emergency maternal and infant health needs
- Provide health education to help people protect their own health and safety
- Conduct disease and injury surveillance in displaced and non-displaced populations
Providing Help for Haiti
- Monetary donations are the best early option. Non-monetary donations, including people, equipment, and materials, can quickly overwhelm the response system.
- Occupational health and safety for responders is a significant concern.
- Responders should be self-sufficient. In general, they will not be able to rely on local resources for food, water, shelter, medical needs, transportation, and security.