“Natural catastrophes: Disaster management and implications for the acute care practitioner”

The year 2004 shook the world with earthquakes, hurricanes and Tsunamis in a way we would never imagine. Thousands of people died, were injured, missing or became homeless. Government agencies, health-care associations and citizens in general take part in planning for emergency preparedness and action when a natural disaster strikes a geographical area in such a devastating way. International humanitarian associations also participate in offering relief to the regions most critically affected. Hospitals and health-care organizations play an important role during these disaster and emergency situations. It is their duty to provide an efficient response in mass-casualty situations during natural catastrophes. For this reason, hospitals invest substantial efforts in developing disaster preparedness plans and training in coordination with public health systems and government agencies. Natural disasters impact a population in various ways. The victims’ environment may be severely affected compromising their resources and immediate needs such as food, water and their homes becoming an emotionally traumatic event for them. This significant change can also result in disease outbreaks. It is a challenge for health professionals to provide the most organized emergency response to benefit of humankind.