Last week, the Philippines were ravaged by what may be the most severe typhoon in history, Haiyan. The reported death toll has risen to almost 4,000 people, and many more have been injured, displaced from their homes, or otherwise affected.
According to this Popular Science article by Brooke Borel, the immediate public health concern is dealing with the trauma inflicted by the storm itself, including preventing or treating infection in injuries sustained. To address this, mobile hospitals are being set up around the country to treat patients on the ground as well as address their daily health issues.
Perhaps more difficult to contend with is the public health dangers associated with the loss of infrastructure. With no clean water or reliable sanitation, Filipinos will be extremely vulnerable to diarrheal diseases, like cholera, and vector-borne diseases, like malaria. Preventing the spread of these diseases will be challenging because they they cannot be defeated with medicine alone. To stay healthy, Filipinos will need safe drinking water, sanitation systems, and new housing, even in the most remote areas.
What other public health measures do you think should be taken after natural disasters like Haiyan?