Water-related disasters and their health impacts: A global review

Water-related disasters and their health impacts: A global review

Lee, J., Perera, D., Glickman, T., & Taing, L. (2020). Water-related disasters and their health impacts: A global review. Progress in Disaster Science, 100123.

While the frequency and intensity of floods and droughts have dramatically increased over the past century, there is limited epidemiological evidence on the health impacts of these disasters. The paper examines the global trends and main health impacts of these events based on databases and case studies, and also identify gaps in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicator framework for monitoring disasters` health impacts and suggest recommendations. Both natural disaster data and 38 case studies published from 2008 to 2018 were reviewed, and measures of association (Risk Ratio, Odds Ratio, and Incidence Rate Ratio) were extracted from case studies for quantitative analysis. The findings of the review indicate that the SDGs lack of multifactorial disease and mental health risk factors, as well as water-borne disease indicators, misses critical aspects associated with floods and droughts’ health impacts. In particular, the narrow focus on suicide as an indicator of mental health overlooks how anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also have severe consequences for those affected by disaster events. Health must be included in resilience-building initiatives at the individual, community, and national levels. The findings of the study suggest that further implementation research of the Sendai Framework and disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts can contribute to the development of the broadly framed concept of health resilience, which, applied to the needs of people at risk in disasters.