Disasters, whether natural or man-made, usually are unpredictable. Efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality from a disaster should be put forth before it occurs.
A brief survey is presented of the worst flood to occur in a hundred years that affected eight provinces in Southeast China. The disaster preparedness and reposnse for Anhui Province, the hardest hit area, is summarized. The disaster preparedness was comprehensive, and cooperation was achieved among various specialties: military forces; firefighters; civil engineers; mechanics; police; provincial governors; the medical sectors; and so forth. Among these groups, the role of medical sectors was of great importance in reducing disease that would have resulted from such a disaster
The measures undertaken by the medical sectors included development of an organization to reduce the impact of disaster; training of medical personnel in techniques of rescue and in treatment of victims in disaster areas; development of a plan to assist the leadership in decision-making and establishing support for disaster preparedness; and maintaining sufficient capacity in general hospitals for the admission of victims from disaster areas.