Impacts of Natural Disasters on Public Health and the Environment

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Impacts of Natural Disasters on Public Health and the Envrionment
Environmental Science

The occurrences of natural disasters have been increasing over the years (Laframboise, M. N., & Loko, M. B., 2012). The impacts of natural disasters can vary widely with the type and severity of the disaster as well as with the preparedness of the affected populations. According to Laframboise, M. N., and Loko, M. B. (2012), “Disasters are classified as geophysical (earthquakes), meteorological (storms), hydrological (floods), climatological (droughts), or biological (epidemics) (p.6).” Disasters affect communities in various ways and can include short and long term effects. There may be physical impacts, public health and
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However, there continues to be a lack of adequate planning in this area.
Physical Impacts The physical impacts of natural disasters include immediate casualties and injuries to persons directly affected by natural disasters as well as secondary health impacts due to damaged infrastructure or loss/contamination of resources. After a natural disaster there may be damage to properties and infrastructures as well as loss of resources needed to survive. This can include loss of crops and safe drinking water or there may be multiple hazards from downed power lines, damage to infrastructure, and debris as well as possible long term health impacts if people are exposed to hazards or unsanitary living conditions for long periods of time (Lindell, M. K., & Prater, C. S., 2003). Watson, J. T., Gayer, M., and Connolly, M. A. (2007) state that “diarrheal disease outbreaks can occur after drinking water has been contaminated and have been reported after flooding.” and that, “In the United States, diarrheal illness was noted after Hurricanes Allison and Katrina, and norovirus, Salmonella, and toxigenic and non-toxigenic V. cholerae were confirmed among Katrina evacuees (np.).” The article mentions many instances of communicable disease epidemics due to the impacts of natural disasters. These include an increase in the occurrence of Hepatitis A and E, Typhoid fever,

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