For some ominous reasons, we’ve been experiencing earthquakes recently. For this year alone, the Philippines has experienced at least 15 recorded quakes, with a prominence in a 7.2 magnitude quake hitting Davao Occidental in April.
Little do we know, earthquakes have very silent but totally serious effects to our health, which vary according to the magnitude, the nature of the build environment and the secondary effects of the quake (e.g., landslides, fires, tsunamis).
Immediate Health Impacts of Earthquakes
üTrauma-related deaths and injuries from building collapse
üTrauma-related deaths and injuries from the secondary effects of the earthquake (drowning and physical trauma from tsunamis, trauma from landslides, burns and smoke inhalation from fires).
Medium-Term Impact on Health
üSecondary infection of untreated wounds.
üPotential risk of communicable diseases, particularly in areas affected by overcrowding.
üPotential environmental contamination by chemical/radiological agents following destruction of industrial infrastructure.
üIncreased morbidity and risk of complications related to pregnancy, deliveries and newborns due to interrupted obstetric and neonatal services.
üIncreased morbidity and risk of complications of chronic diseases due to interruption of treatment.
üIncreased psychosocial needs.
Earthquakes’ Impact on the Health System
üDamage to health facilities and transport infrastructure, with subsequent disruption of service delivery, leading to reduced access to and functionality of all levels of health services.
üAbsence of health workers who may not be able to reach the health facilities that are still functional, or whose homes and families may have been directly affected by the earthquake.
üReduced ability to pay for health services as affected households lose assets and livelihoods.
üLoss of medical supplies and interrupted procurement systems, with many stock-outs.
SAME WITH ANY OTHER NATURAL DISASTER, THE BEST WAY TO SURVIVE AN EARTHQUAKE IS THROUGH PREPAREDNESS!
Please watch the video below on how to survive an earthquake.