If we want more evidence-based practice, we need more practice-based evidence.*


Chapter 22

Community Preparedness and Disaster Relief

[a new chapter proposed for 9th edition]

Table of Contents:



With the events of September 11, 2001 came a new focus in community and population health on the issues of public health preparedness for disasters of all types, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks on populations. This chapter will examine the community and population health issues of readiness of public health systems for disasters, natural and human created, and other emergencies.



Polymer-based Filter Cleans Water, Recovers Oil in Gulf Test.   June 7, 2010

Public supports quarantine, but with a lot of reservations. Health Affairs, Mar '06.

Homeland Security overhauls disaster response plans. Assoc Press, Dec. 31, 2005. 

CDC issues guidelines for Katrina's health and relief workers. MMWR, Sept 9, 2005.

Agriculture Dept gives Gulf area schools waiver to serve school lunches to all kids. Sept 1, 2005.

Gulf declared public health disaster area. Aug 31, 2005.

Tracking the public health impact of Hurricane Katrina. Aug 24, and continuing. Red Cross. CDC. FEMA, USDA

Preparing for two incoming hurricanes. CDC, July 8, 2005.

London blasts and the public health threat of terrorism. Assoc Press, July 7, 2005. 

Public health impact of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Press accounts compiled by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. January 2005.

Tsunami in Indian Ocean Region Dec 2004, and Katrina in US Gulf Region Aug 2005. List of assistance agencies through which donations of financial or other disaster assistance can be made.

  • American Red Cross – Donations can be made online by going to and following the instructions on the home page. Donations can also be sent to the International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. For more information about donating, please call 800-435-7669. For information about friends or relatives who may have been victims, call 866-438-4636.

  • CARE – Donations may be made online at CARE. Contributions may also be made by phone at 800-521-2273 or 800-521-CARE. You may also e-mail for more information about donating.  

  • UNICEF USA – Donations may be made online at Checks and money orders made payable to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF may be mailed to, 333 East 38th Street, New York, NY 10016.

  • World Vision – Donations may be made online at Monetary contributions will be used to provide food and family survival kits to Asian countries. Each kit provides things like blankets, tarps for temporary shelter, water purification tablets and cooking supplies.

  • United Nations World Food Programme – Donations may be made online at Contributions may be mailed to U.S. Friends of the WFP, P.O. Box 11856, Washington, D.C. 20008. Donations by U.S. taxpayers are tax-deductible. 

  • Oxfam America – Donations may be made online at  Checks payable to Oxfam America may be mailed to Oxfam America, 226 Causeway Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02114. 

  • Asia Relief – The Maryland-based nonprofit organization is accepting donations of cash, nonperishable food, clothing and toys for victims in Sri Lanka. Donations should be dropped off or mailed to Asia Relief, 19409 Olive Tree Way, Gaithersburg, MD 20879. Please contact Rizwan Mowlana at 301-672-9355 for more information.  

  • Association for India’s Development Inc.—The Maryland-based nonprofit organization is accepting cash donations to help relief work in India. Contributions can be made on the Web at or mailed to AID Zone 3, P.O. Box 4801, Mountain View, CA 94040-0801, with checks made payable to AID. Contact Priya Ranjan at 301-422-4441 for more information.

  • Tsunami Relief Inc. – The Virginia-based nonprofit group has been set up to help victims in Sri Lanka. Donors can call 703-934-6922 or mail checks payable to Tsunami Relief Inc. to 9302 Lee Hwy., Fifth Floor, Fairfax, VA 22031.

  • Direct Relief International – Donations can be made online at or by phone at 805-964-4767.  Checks and money orders may be mailed to Direct Relief International, 27 S. La Patera Lane, Santa Barbara, Calif. 93117. 

  • B’nai B’rith International – Donations can be made online at or mailed to B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund, 2020 K St. NW, Seventh Floor, Washington, D.C. 20006. 

  • Mercy Corps – Donations can be made online at or by phone at 800-852-2100. Donations may also be mailed to Mercy Corps, Dept. W, P.O. Box 2669, Portland, OR 97208.

  • Operation USA – The Los Angeles-based international relief agency is accepting donations online at or by phone at 800-678-7255. Donations may also be mailed to Operation USA, 8320 Melrose Ave., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 

  • Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) – Donations can be made online at or contributions can be made by phone at 888-392-0392. MSF is airlifting more than 60 tons of medical, surgical, and water-and-sanitation equipment to Sri Lanka and Indonesia.  

More information about donations to humanitarian organizations can be found on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Web site,

Donors can also call the Center for International Disaster Information at 703-276-1914.  

In Event of Bioterrorist Attack, Some Hospitals Plan Not To Accept New Patients.  Apr. 16, 2003.  

Officials Seek Smallpox Vaccine Compensation Fund (New York Times, March 7, 2003).   Officials have asked Congress to authorize compensation for people who were injured by the smallpox vaccine.

Government Applies Bioterrorism Responses to Flu, West Nile Viruses.  Oct. 3, 2002

Bioterrorism inexpensive and spreading (Washington, August 27, 2002) - The United States believes that bioterrorism is likely to  increase as a result of the low cost of developing biological weapons, as opposed to chemical or nuclear weapons.

Chemical plans vulnerable (Washington Post, December 26, 2001) - Terrorist attacks on chemical plants could prove a formidable problem for counterterrorism security in the United States. An attack could result in the forming of deadly vapor clouds, which could place millions of people in danger.

Red Cross guidelines to safeguard U.S. blood supply draws criticism (The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2001) - The recent decision of the American Red Cross to not accept donated blood from recent visitors of Great Britain, in an attempt to avoid infecting the American blood supply with Mad Cow Disease, has led to controversy.   

WEBPAGES AND INFORMATION SOURCES on Disaster Response and Preparedness

American Red Cross  
Basic Life Support and Emergency CPR  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Citizen Corps  
Department of Commerce  
Department of Health and Human Services  
Department of Energy  
Department of Interior  
Department of Justice  

Environmental Protection Agency


Family Disaster Planning

The American Red Cross has developed a
clear series of questions and lists that will help you plan and respond to emergencies.
Family Disaster Planning Kit

Recommended Supplies List

The Federal Emergency Management
Agency has created a brochure with a number of checklists and instructions to help you prepare kits for responding to emergency events.

Federal Emergency Management Agency


Food and Drug Administration

Guides to Disaster Recovery  
Home Emergency & Disaster Safety  
Humane Society of the United States  

Institute for Business and Home Safety

Natural Disasters & Severe Weather  
National Fire Protection Association  

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


National Weather Service

National Safety Council | Emergency Preparedness Plan & Checklist
Nuclear Regulatory Commission  
Pet Disaster Preparedness - ASPCA  
Practical Ways To Help In A Disaster 
Prepare, Plan & Stay Informed for Emergencies  
Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (CDC)
U.S. Department of Agriculture  

U.S. Fire Administration

U.S. Geological Survey  
U.S. Postal Service  

Federal Community Disaster Website

Free Disaster Recovery Training for Volunteers