Environmental health in emergencies

Natural events

Flooding in South-East Asia

"A natural disaster is an act of nature of such magnitude as to create a catastrophic situation in which the day-to-day patterns of life are suddenly disrupted and people are plunged into helplessness and suffering, and, as a result, need food, clothing, shelter, medical and nursing care and other necessities of life, and protection against unfavourable environmental factors and conditions." Guide to sanitation in natural disasters WHO (1971).

Every year natural disasters kill around 90 000 people and affect close to 160 million people worldwide. Natural disasters include earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, heat waves and droughts. They have an immediate impact on human lives and often result in the destruction of the physical, biological and social environment of the affected people, thereby having a longer-term impact on their health, well-being and survival.

KEY resources

WHO


Other resources

WHO

Related sites