International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001



Publications PAHO / WHO

Humanitarian Supply Management and Logistics in the Health Sector

Emergencies and disasters represent a critical test to the logistical and organizational capacity of affected countries. This challenge is faced with more intensity by the health sector, where deficiencies in supply management may result in lethal consequences.

Supply management, whether provisions come directly from the local market or from foreign aid, is in most cases a complex logistical problem that should not depend on improvised decisions in emergency situations. The acquisition, storage, mobilization and distribution of such supplies among victims require a minimum level of organization in order to manage them efficiently and optimize the use of existing resources.

This new book offers guidelines to address the aforementioned issues. This publication, as a practical guide that highlights the fact that logistics must be incorporated as an ongoing task into disaster planning and preparedness in countries and organizations dealing with these issues. Also, the book refers to how the different stages of supply distribution (from the beginning of this process until the moment a victim receives provisions) constitute a chain. All segments of this chain must be interrelated.

Published jointly by PAHO and WHO, this book compiles a number of practical experiences gained through the years (especially through to the application of the SUMA methodology). Although medical and pharmaceutical supplies receive special attention, techniques and procedures proposed by this publication may be applied based on a multi-sectoral criteria and within any context related to emergency operations.

This book can be found online at the following website:

Emergencies and Disasters in Potable Water and Sewage Systems:
A Guideline for an Effective Response.

Services related to potable water and sewage represent an essential element to guarantee optimal health conditions and the well-being of the population at large. In Latin America and the Caribbean, natural threats (earthquakes, floods and volcano eruptions, among others), added to existing vulnerability conditions, often cause severe damages to potable water and sewage systems, as well as enormous economic losses and critical changes regarding the quality of these services.

Despite the fact that many countries already have a plan to cope with these emergency situations, recent disasters such as Hurricanes Georges and Mitch (1998), heavy rainfalls and landslides in Venezuela (1999) and earthquakes in El Salvador (2001) have shown that it is not enough to have an emergency plan, but also to make sure that it does work and that it has been developed based on the specific vulnerability found within a given system.

This book, prepared jointly by the Pan-American Health Organization and the Unit of Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Health in Emergencies and Disasters (DIEDE), of the Inter-American Association of Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences (AIDIS), is a guideline for developing emergency and disaster plans related to these systems, starting from the comprehensive knowledge of existing threats and vulnerabilities. The book reviews and revises other technical documents previously published by PAHO and it represents a complement to the book titled “Natural Disaster Mitigation in Potable Water and Sewage Systems”, published by PAHO in 1998.

This is a guide intended for managers, administrators, planners, designers, operation and maintenance staff. It may be used to contribute to plan more adequate disaster responses, guaranteeing the quality and continuity of these services and, therefore, protecting and preserving the health of the population affected by these events.

This book can be found online at the following website:

Pan-American Health Organization,
Regional Office of the
World Health Organization
525 Twenty-Third Street N.W.
Washington D.C., 20037
Tel (202) 974-3520 Fax (202) 775-4578

Inter-American Association of Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences
Rua Nicolau Gagliardi, 354
05429-010 Sao Paulo SP-Brazil
Tel (55-11) 212-4080 Fax (55-11) 814-2441

Disaster Mitigation for Health Facilities:
Guidelines for Vulnerability Appraisal and Reduction in the Caribbean

Loss of housing, schools, factories and agricultural crops through the impact of natural hazards can have serious implications for national development but, provided these are not accompanied by injury or loss of life, their immediate effects on the well being of the population may not be great.

However health facilities play a critical role in maintaining life during and immediately following natural disasters and it is for this reason that it is extremely important that they have as much protection as modern approaches to mitigation can provide. In addition, many communities rely on their hospitals and health centers to provide shelter during events, adding to their responsibility to be safe havens when needed.

Over recent years, economic factors have suffered the consequences of becoming low priorities in the allocation of funds. In these circumstances, it has become increasingly important that priorities can be identified and targeted for the use of scarce resources.

The outcome of the application of these guidelines to health facilities will be an assessment of their vulnerability to the impact of the hazards identified and an initial definition of “mitigation measures” required to minimize this.

However, these guidelines are intended to be used by non-technical health staff working in the health centers and hospitals. These staff would normally have some responsibility for the safety and condition of their buildings but often they are in the hands of technical personnel to carry out the kind of assessments suggested in this book. This book is intended to enable them to participate in an informed way in the identification of priorities and mitigation measures.

Pan American Health Organization
Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization
Office of Caribbean Program Coordination
PO Box 508, Bridgetown, Barbados

Methodological Guidelines for Preparing a Local Sanitary Emergency Plan
Ministry of Health of Nicaragua. General Management of Environmental and Epidemiological Health, and Program for Emergencies and Disasters (PED) PAHO/WHO- Nicaragua

This publication covers a number of issues that must be addressed to understand and prepare emergency plans within the health sector. These issues are addressed in such way that readers are provided with a series of working tools and knowledge as basic guidelines for developing plans.


Disaster Mitigation in Health Facilities: Didactic and Training Material (English and Spanish)
Pan-American Health Organization / World Health Organization



Humanitarian Aid in Case of Disasters: Practical Guidelines for Donating
Pan-American Health Organization, Regional Office of the World Health Organization

For further technical assistance, please contact:
PAHO/Program for Disaster Preparedness
525 Twenty-Third Street N.W. Washington D.C., 20037
Tel (202) 974-3520 Emergency line (202) 974-3399 Fax (202) 775-4578

The PAHO/WHO Supply Management System
Pan-American Health Organization
World Health Organization

For further information:
Or contact: PAHO 525 Twenty-Third Street N.W.
Fax (202) 775-4578 Washington D.C., 20037

SUMA in El Salvador: Humanitarian Aid Management following the Earthquakes in El Salvador, 2001.


Supply Management System

Documents, software and material regarding the logistical supply management.
For transparent humanitarian aid management, please contact:
PO Box 114, Plaza Mayor 1225,
San José, Costa Rica
Tel (506) 296-2898/384-8657
Fax (506) 291-0286

SUMA: “Transparent Supply Management in case of Disasters”
Length: 4 minutes

Pan-American Health Organization,
Regional Office of the World Health Organization
525 Twenty-Third Street N.W.
Washington D.C., 20037
Tel (202) 974-3520
Fax (202) 775-4578
Sub-regional Office for Central America. Preparedness Program for Emergency Situations and Relief in Case of Disasters
PO Box 3745, San José, Costa Rica
Tel (506) 257-2141, Fax (506) 257-2139

“To defend ourselves against earthquakes,
we must know about them”

The use of this guideline requires the ability of facilitators to adapt its pedagogical content, especially through the implementation of a number of techniques and by taking into account which sectors and age groups will be involved.

This guideline was prepared as part of the material developed within the Project titled “National and Local Strengthening of Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Attention in Nicaragua”, financed by DIPECHO of the European Union.


RUTA Publications
Guideline for Risk Management in Rural Development Projects
Carola Kiesel

Associating sustainable development with the successful reduction of risks requires the introduction of both concepts during the process of formulating development projects.

This guideline represents a process and an outcome at the same time. As an outcome, it may be applied to different sectors, focusing on and facilitating the process itself. As a process, it combines a number of elements and steps related to the analysis and implementation of actions and their priorities.

It is based on the experiences gained in Central America. Therefore, for sample purposes data was collected within this region. It may be used by governments, civil society, communities and donors for risk management in rural development projects. The guideline enables institutions working with both issues (sustainable development and risk reduction) to carry out more effective actions, make more efficient investments and define a number of interventions aimed at contributing to reducing the level of vulnerability among the population..

To harmonize the adequate management of natural resources with poverty alleviation, sustainable development goals must be linked to the prevention of natural disasters and the reduction of the vulnerability endured by the Central American population.


Manual for Designing and Implementing a Food Security and Early Warning System (FSEWS) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Agriculture and Economic Development Policies - FAO

The World Food Summit –which took place in November 1996, recognized the need to improve the information available for governments, their international partners and all actors of civil society in each country, to allow their actions to focus on food security in an appropriate manner.

In 1997, approximately twenty multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental organizations established the initiative titled Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS), to help affected countries and the international community at large to identify “who, where and why” food insecurity takes place or when there exists the risk of it.

Before the Summit, a large number of countries had already organized multidisciplinary networks at national and local levels. One of them, initially developed in French-speaking Africa and that provides FAO with extensive experience with regards to support and participation, is the Food Security and Early Warning System (FSEWS). This Manual highlights its importance as a methodological means for those actors who devote efforts to fight against famine.

In particular, the FSEWS initiative may help national technicians who work at both centralized and decentralized levels, as well as those organizations that provide technical assistance and work jointly with them. It is intended to establish a series of actions as useful tools to develop different stages.

For further information please contact :
Hugo Villela
Program Assistant, FAO
Tel (505) 220-0590


Manual of Earthquake Resistant Houses built with Concrete Bajareque
Colombian Association of Seismic Engineering

This manual includes additional requirements regarding the simplified design and construction of one and two-story houses made up of concrete bajareque reinforced with treated wood structure. This will help professional builders and other people to meet the minimum requirements for building these houses.

This manual was developed by the Colombian Association of Seismic Engineering (AIS), with the financial support of the Fund for the Reconstruction and Social Development of the Coffee Axis (FOREC) and the CORONA Foundation.

For further information, please contact:
Omar Darío Cardona
President, Colombian Association of Seismic Engineering


Manual for Constructing, Assessing and Restoring
Earthquake-Resistant Masonry Housing
Colombian Association of Seismic Engineering, OFDA

For further information please contact:
Omar Darío Cardona
President, Colombian Association of Seismic Engineering


Disaster Prevention: Methodological Guideline
Modules 1 to 4
UNESCO, El Salvador

Module 1: It is better to prevent...
Module 2: A healthy mind in a healthy body
Module 3: Hygiene and Water
Module 4: What we eat is what we are

For further information, please contact:
UNESCO El Salvador
Apdo 1114, Calle Juan José Cañas 433,
Col. Escalón, San Salvador
Tel (503) 263-4800
Fax (503) 263-4886


National Secretariat for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation

Slides: it is better to prevent…
Li samra dinkanka nani bui siknis nani wankaia sipsa
Lisamra nani ba ¿Nahki sipsa kaina kahbaia?
Floods: How to prevent its damages?
Prepared for heavy rainfalls and hurricanes
Preparedness is the best means to cope with disasters
To defend ourselves against earthquakes we must learn about them
Diseases that floods may cause.

Christian Medical Action of Nicaragua (AMC)
Financial Support: Action by Churches Together ACT/Diakona.
For further information please contact:
Dr. José Ramón Espinoza
Director Planning and Assessment
Christian Medical Action