The Canadian Forces' (CF) deployable hospital, 1 Canadian Field Hospital, was deployed to Haiti after an earthquake that caused massive devastation. Two surgical teams performed 167 operations over a 39-day period starting 17 days after the index event. Most operations were unrelated to the earthquake. Replacing or supplementing the destroyed local surgical capacity for a brief period after a disaster can be a valuable contribution to relief efforts. For future humanitarian operations/disaster response missions, the CF will study the feasibility of accelerating the deployment of surgical capabilities.
In the past two decades, there has been an increase in the number of earthquakes, tidal waves, accidents at chemically dangerous enterprises, and other types of catastrophes, which have posed an emergency survival problem for society. The scientific development of this problem has given rise to a new area of preventive medicine--catastrophe hygiene that is designed to eliminate (reduce) the poor influence of emergency factors and to offer the suffered population safe conditions of accommodation and/or life, water supply, nutrition, and other elements of survival under these conditions. The paper defines the subject and objects of studies in catastrophe hygiene. It characterizes the value and role of this science in the organization and implementation of preventive measures to liquidate the medicosanitary consequences of emergencies, as well as the place of hygienic facilities and research institutes within the framework of the Russian emergency service.
This paper examines the relationship between community preparedness and response to natural disaster and their level and pattern of community development. This is done by investigating preparation and response to the 1997 Red River Flood by three rural communities in Manitoba, Canada. The communities were selected because of their different ethnic mix and associated level and pattern of community development. The hypothesis was supported that the level and pattern of community development affect community capacity to respond to flooding. Communities characterised by higher levels of physical, human and social capital were better prepared and more effective responders to the flood. However, where the pattern of community development was characterised by high levels of social capital, decision-making processes were complicated.
This paper examines some of the social processes associated with disaster conditions. Utilising an asset-based perspective of community capacity, it focuses on four types of normative systems to interpret the ability of communities to manage disasters through market-, bureaucratic-, associative-, and communal-based norms. Drawing on experience of a wildfire in the Crowsnest Pass region of southwest Alberta, Canada, in 2003, the tensions and compatibilities among these normative systems are evaluated through interviews with 30 community leaders. The results confirm the contributions of all types of social capital to resiliency, the necessity for rapid use of place-based knowledge, and the importance of communication among all types and levels of agents. In addition, they point to the value of identifying and managing potential conflicts among the normative systems as a means to maximising their contributions. The integration of local networks and groups into the more general disaster response minimised the impacts on health and property.