Health effects of natural disasters Essay

The aim of the study was to mitigate the severity of the health impacts of the storms in June 2007 in New South Wales.

An extreme storm began on Thursday, 7 June which brought along disastrous gale-force winds and heavy rains to Newcastle, Gosford, Wyong, Sydney, and the Hunter Valley region of the New South wales. Rainfall as much as 275mm in 24 hours in conjunction to winds exceeding 130km/hr flooded and damaged public places including hospitals, community health centers, businesses, houses and other infrastructures.

Public health implications- The number of people at the emergency and the hospitals skyrocketed as the storms and the floods affected masses. 180 people presented to emergency departments of the Hunter New England Area Health Service in a span of six days(8june-13june). Treatment for about 29 high care residents specifically those receiving dialysis, oxygen therapy, intravenous therapy and, enteral feeds at home was interrupted due to power failures. Thus, these patients had to be relocated to the Hunter New England area hospitals. People were admitted to emergency departments with storm related injuries/conditions which included hypothermia, fractures, lacerations and injuries. It was recorded that nearly 200",000 houses and infrastructures had electricity disruptions due to the winds which caused failure of household tasks, winter heating, supply of hot water etc. Few places had no electricity for more than a week.

To add to the above, 12 hospitals and 50 retirement villages, nursing homes experiences power shortages. 207 private or commercial drinking supplies, 1200 food areas, 2600 waste water disposal systems were amongst the other power failure effected bodies directly related to floods. A public health emergency center was established in the area so that disease outbreak could be avoided and that the activities in the area could be monitored which could further be responded as public health issues under the policies devised by New South Wales health-plan. The communities in the affected area also had challenges with water supplies as the electric pumps failed. Water restrictrions were put in place in the Hunter Valley region in order to reserve the safe stored water. 6000 residents of Maitland and Lorn had to evacuate as the Hunter river’s level exceeded to cross its levee. The total damage bill was expected to be $1.5 billion. After few weeks post storms, Hunter New England Mental Health Service assessed 143 people.

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