UN flash appeal: WHO requirements
South Asia earthquake and tsunamis
Through the UN Flash Appeal, WHO is requesting US$ 67 060 220 to meet health needs of populations affected by the South Asia earthquake and tsunamis. The Appeal aims to cover the January to June 2005 period in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, and-through a wider approach-ensure that the needs of inhabitants in all affected areas are being addressed to enable a balanced recovery.
Health sector needs assessment
Urgent action is required to address the critical health needs of more than five million people affected by the 26 December 2004 earthquake and tsunamis in the Southeast Asian region. The lack of access to clean water, adequate shelter, food, sanitation and health infrastructure is having a significant impact on the health status of populations already stricken by poverty. Vulnerable groups including pregnant women, children and the elderly are particularly at risk.
As a direct result of polluted water and seawater contamination, thousands of people are now facing serious threats of disease such as diarrhoea, typhoid, hepatitis, viral fever, and dysentery. Vector-borne diseases also pose significant threats. Essential cold chain equipment has been destroyed or damaged thus interrupting planned immunization activities. There is also an increased threat of measles, influenza and meningitis.
It is essential to rapidly establish an early-warning communicable disease surveillance, verification and response system for early detection and control of disease outbreaks including the provision of basic laboratory services. Monitoring diseases, collecting data and conducting awareness campaigns are critical elements in responding to emerging health threats.
Due to the loss of services and resources (including health workers), there is the potential for increased incidence of preventable maternal and infant deaths, unsafe deliveries, unwanted pregnancies, and the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS. Malnutrition is a common problem in some of the affected areas. Proper nutrition assessments, interventions and monitoring are vital to minimize the long-term effects of childhood malnutrition that may increase due to the disaster.
Health sector priorities and WHO actions
Priority: Surveillance and response
- Rapidly establish an early-warning communicable disease surveillance and response system for early detection and control of outbreaks in the affected populations. Develop and implement the system through local health partners.
Priority: Joint action for health
- Support the Ministries of Health in coordination of the health sector to ensure the best use of available resources and avoid duplication of activities.
- Establish a crisis-response office in Bangkok that will work closely with the Joint Task Force Headquarters, and Operations Rooms at WHO's Headquarters and the South-east Asia Regional Office to back-stop operational, assessment and coordination activities being carried out by teams in each of the affected countries.
- Coordinate with other partners on the ground. For example, in Indonesia WHO is establishing its presence at the joint compound set-up by the International Humanitarian Partnership. This is important from a safety perspective, given the fragile and insecure environment in affected areas. It will also facilitate the pooling of resources.
Priority: Public health
- In collaboration with partner agencies, provide guidance regarding critical public health issues (response to disease outbreaks, water quality, chemical threats, chronic disease management and mental health), and fill gaps until local authorities are equipped to re-assume the task.
- Deploy skilled mobile 'response' teams of technical experts in epidemiology, surveillance and early warning systems, environmental health, health infrastructure, logistics, communications, security, finance and administration to the affected countries to work with national authorities and help re-establish public health systems.
Priority: Access to essential health care
- Assess the impact on health services and facilities in the region, and ensure access to adequate health care services through key hospitals and centres.
Priority: Medical supplies
- Contribute to ensuring that medical supply chains function as efficiently as possible and respond to the needs of end-users.
WHO is requesting US$ 67 060 220 to meet urgent health needs, as outlined in the UN Flash Appeal to respond to the 26 December 2004 South Asia Earthquake and Tsunamis. This includes:
- US$ 36 000 000 for Indonesia (8 projects)
- US$ 12 500 000 for Sri Lanka (1 project)
- US$ 6 085 000 for Maldives (7 projects)
- US$ 275 220 for Somalia (1 project)
- US$ 12 200 000 for regional activities
Note: The preliminary budget for WHO's 100-day strategy-issued on 31 December and found at http://www.who.int/hac/crises/international/asia_tsunami/100day_strategy/en/index2.html -has been expanded upon in the health component of the UN Flash Appeal covering the next six months. As more detailed assessments are undertaken, it is probable that identified health needs will further increase and additional funds will be required at a later stage.