Mitigating the health impacts of a natural disaster-the June 2007 long weekend storm in the Hunter region of New South Wales

Cretikos, Michelle A., Merritt, Tony D., Main, Kelly, Eastwood, Keith, Winn, Linda, Moran, Lucille, and Durrheim, David N. (2007) Mitigating the health impacts of a natural disaster-the June 2007 long weekend storm in the Hunter region of New South Wales. Medical Journal of Australia, 187 (11/12). pp. 670-673.

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• A severe storm that began on Thursday, 7 June 2007 brought heavy rains and gale-force winds to Newcastle, Gosford, Wyong, Sydney, and the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales.

• The storm caused widespread flooding and damage to houses, businesses, schools and health care facilities, and damaged critical infrastructure.

• Ten people died as a result of the storm, and approximately 6000 residents were evacuated.

• A natural disaster was declared in 19 local government areas, with damage expected to reach $1.5 billion.

• Additional demands were made on clinical health services, and interruption of the electricity supply to over 200 000 homes and businesses, interruption of water and gas supplies, and sewerage system pump failures presented substantial public health threats.

• A public health emergency operations centre was established by the Hunter New England Area Health Service to coordinate surveillance activities, respond to acute public health issues and prevent disease outbreaks.

• Public health activities focused on providing advice, cooperating with emergency service agencies, monitoring water quality and availability, preventing illness from sewage-contaminated flood water, assessing environmental health risks, coordinating the local government public health response, and surveillance for storm-related illness and disease outbreaks, including gastroenteritis.

• The local ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) radio station played a key role in disseminating public health advice.

• A household survey conducted within a fortnight of the storm established that household preparedness and storm warning systems could be improved.

Item ID: 30098
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1326-5377
Additional Information:

Freely available from publisher.

Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2014 14:30
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 100%
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