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The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term outcome of quality of life (QOL) in the lower-limb amputees 10 years after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
In the cross-sectional study, 66 lower-limb amputees were recruited. The prosthetics-related QOL was assessed using the Prosthetic Evaluation Questionnaire (PEQ) in terms of the scales of utility, appearance, sounds, residual limb health, perceived response, frustration, social burden, ambulation, and well-being. The score of each PEQ subscale was calculated and compared among the cohorts with different demographic characteristics.
The PEQ scores showed that the scales of sounds, residual limb health, and frustration were still low in the lower-limb amputees 10 years after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The comparison of PEQ scales among cohorts with different demographic characteristics indicated that the potential demographic risk factors, namely, age, marital status, educational level, living independence, and comorbidity, were associated with prosthesis-related QOL.
The prosthesis-related QOL of the lower-limb amputees 10 years after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake has been partly documented in this study. The potential demographic risk factors associated with QOL of amputees were also identified. These findings could enhance the understanding of prosthesis-related QOL of lower-limb amputees sustained in an earthquake and facilitate the optimization of post-disaster rehabilitation strategies.
This chapter shows that theories of natural catastrophes in Greek and Roman literature in general presuppose the repetition of devastating events rather than their singularity, but that the ancient evaluations of natural catastrophes differ widely. Long shows that Plato and Aristotle tend to be detached and dispassionate in their accounts of such natural catastrophes by treating them simply as inevitable phases in the natural world’s cyclical history. By contrast, the Epicurean Lucretius and the Stoic Seneca clearly acknowledge human fragility in the face of catastrophes. Both philosophers register the dangers of presuming mastery over the natural environment and are sensitive to the human toll that nature can extort from exceeding such limits.
Japan has repeatedly suffered from natural disasters. A number of temporary evacuation shelters have been opened for the benefit of evacuees. Although the operation of such evacuation shelters has improved after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (1995), a number of operational difficulties were encountered during the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and the Kumamoto Earthquake in 2016. A systematic literature review was conducted to identify the medical concerns encountered in temporary evacuation shelters by focusing on unsanitary environment, food and nutrition, and shortage of medication. Actual sanitary conditions have been found to be below the standards stipulated by the Japanese government as per international guidelines. Food aid in evacuation shelters was neither nutritionally balanced, nor was the distribution to different shelters balanced. Furthermore, evacuees with chronic diseases feared that there may be a shortage of medication. Crowding in evacuation shelters increased the risk of outbreaks of infectious diseases (e.g., tuberculosis). Malnutrition and shortage of medication exacerbated the risk of deterioration of chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes mellitus, hypertension) among evacuees. Therefore, it is recommended that healthcare professionals should be promptly deployed to evacuation shelters, to promote sanitary control and education, as well as address limited space availability, and food and medication shortage.
We conducted a systematic review to determine the prevalence and characteristics of earthquake-associated head injuries for better disaster preparedness and management.
We searched for all publications related to head injuries and earthquakes from 1985 to 2018 in MEDLINE and other major databases. A search was conducted using “earthquakes,” “wounds and injuries,” and “cranio-cerebral trauma” as a medical subject headings.
Included in the analysis were 34 articles. With regard to the commonly occurring injuries, earthquake-related head injury ranks third among patients with earthquake-related injuries. The most common trauma is lower extremity (36.2%) followed by upper extremity (19.9%), head (16.6%), spine (13.1%), chest (11.3%), and abdomen (3.8%). The most common earthquake-related head injury was laceration or contusion (59.1%), while epidural hematoma was the most common among inpatients with intracranial hemorrhage (9.5%) followed by intracerebral hematoma (7.0%), and subdural hematoma (6.8%). Mortality rate was 5.6%.
Head injuries were found to be a commonly occurring trauma along with extremity injuries. This knowledge is important for determining the demands for neurosurgery and for adequately managing patients, especially in resource-limited conditions.
Nurses are a vital workforce to the disaster response of an earthquake. The aim of this study was to assess preexisting knowledge in baccalaureate nursing students about disaster preparedness and self-protective behavioral responses during an earthquake.
A descriptive cross-sectional survey of nursing students from a seismologically active region was conducted. Data were collected prior to earthquake preparedness education and ShakeOut drills designed to enhance personal safety.
A total of 274 nursing students participated in the survey (response rate – 93%). More than half (57%) of respondents did not feel prepared for an earthquake; 88% were without a household emergency plan and 82% lacked emergency supplies. Self-protective actions of drop, cover, and hold on and stay in bed were accurately identified by 77% and 96% of respondents, respectively. Hazardous actions selected included stand in a doorway (77% of respondents) and go outside into the street (23% of respondents).
These results demonstrate a lack of personal disaster preparedness in nursing students and several behavioral responses that do not promote self-preservation during seismic activity. Although existing baccalaureate nursing education addresses competencies for disaster care, actions are needed to develop curriculum that emphasizes preparedness and safety to regional environmental hazards.
Disasters can have impact on the demand and supply of blood, with such a difficult perspective, planning of an appropriate response to counterbalance the need for blood is of paramount importance. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate how the impact of blood imbalances may be absorbed by inert recruitment of donors during 2 life-threatening earthquakes that shook Taiwan on the same date in 2016 and 2018.
A retrospective database search from blood bank registries was developed.
Despite the public efforts to restrain the flow, a 3- to 4-fold increase in volunteers responded to the earthquakes. This surge alleviated after a day and did not contribute to sub-par collections. Those who donated more than usual immediately after the event were identified as first-time, younger, and female populations. The hospitals providing inpatient care to the injured transfused a slightly decreased amount of packed red cells, whereas the use of whole blood, platelets, and plasma remained stable. The inert recruiting was effective in reducing the duration of donor overabundance.
Compared with other examples, the inert recruiting approach was effective in reducing the duration of donor overabundance to 1 day and may be useful for disaster preparedness of transfusion supplies.
Throughout history, earthquakes have caused devastation and loss of life. Emergency medical services (EMS) plays a vital role in the response to any mass-casualty incident or disaster. Magen David Adom, Israel’s premier EMS organization, has a unique strategy known as the ABC approach to earthquake response. It involves thousands of salaried workers and trained volunteers who are prepared to respond to an earthquake based on the extent of the disaster. Depending on the amount of destruction, they will be working locally or available to help in other areas. A Level A earthquake causes local destruction and minimal casualties. Any EMS responders in that area as well as in surrounding areas will be available to help. Furthermore, all responders will need to work automatically and autonomously. A Level B earthquake causes extensive destruction, and all responders in the region will be busy caring for the victims. Anyone available outside of the region will come and help. A Level C earthquake is completely devastating, and all workers nationwide will be involved in responding to the catastrophe. The role of EMS responders using the ABC approach to earthquake response, as described here, may be integrated in part or whole in other EMS systems.
Since its 1960s origins, the Haddon matrix has served as a tool to understand and prevent diverse mechanisms of injuries and promote safety. Potential remains for broadened application and innovation of the matrix for disaster preparedness. Hospital functionality and efficiency are particularly important components of community vulnerability in developed and developing nations alike. Given the Haddon matrixʼs user-friendly approach to integrating current engineering concepts, behavioral sciences, and policy dimensions, we seek to apply it in the context of hospital earthquake preparedness and response. The matrixʼs framework lends itself to interdisciplinary planning and collaboration between social and physical sciences, paving the way for a systems-oriented reduction in vulnerabilities. Here, using an associative approach to integrate seemingly disparate social and physical science disciplines yields innovative insights about hospital disaster preparedness for earthquakes. We illustrate detailed examples of pre-event, event, and post-event engineering, behavioral science, and policy factors that hospital planners should evaluate given the complex nature, rapid onset, and broad variation in impact and outcomes of earthquakes. This novel contextual examination of the Haddon matrix can enhance critical infrastructure disaster preparedness across the epidemiologic triad, by integrating essential principles of behavioral sciences, policy, law, and engineering to earthquake preparedness.
The aim of this study was to explore the mortality pattern due to Gorkha earthquakes in 2015 and review the response and recovery efforts immediately following the earthquakes.
Data from published reports of the Nepal Police showed over 8000 deaths. These death counts were categorized by gender, ethnicity, and age groups (interval of 5 years). The mortality rate was calculated (per 100 000 population), using the projected population as the denominator as of April 2015.
Children < 10 years and older adults > 55 years showed a higher rate of deaths, with similar trends for the most affected districts. Almost 8 more females’ deaths were reported per 100 000 population compared with their male counterparts. There was a higher death rate from Province 3 with a notable gender difference: Nearly 20 more females’ deaths were reported per 100 000 population compared with their male counterparts. There was a higher death rate in mountains (542.4 per 100 000) compared with hills (55.0 per 100 000) and the southern Terai region (0.96 per 100 000) of Nepal.
Young and older adults, female, and residents of remote, mountainous regions of Nepal were vulnerable to the earthquakes. Future earthquake preparedness should focus on the vulnerable population by age and gender and the geographical accessibility.
The Nankai Trough, which marks the boundary between the Eurasian and Philippine Sea plates, is forecasted to create a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami within 30 years. The Japanese government believes that the number of casualties would be huge. However, the exact number of severely injured (SI) people who would need emergency and intensive care has not been identified.
This study, therefore, aimed to clarify the gap between medical supplies and forecasted demand.
The official data estimating the number of injured people were collected, together with the number of intensive care unit (ICU) and high care unit (HCU) beds from each prefecture throughout Japan. The number of SI cases was recalculated based on official data. The number of hospital beds was then compared with the number of SI people.
The total number of hospitals in Japan is 8,493 with 893,970 beds, including 6,556 ICU and 5,248 HCU beds. When the Nankai Trough earthquake occurs, 187 of the 723 disaster base hospitals (DBHs) would be located in the areas with a seismic intensity of an upper six on the Japanese Seismic Intensity Scale (JSIS) of seven, and 79 DBHs would be located in the tsunami inundation area. The estimated total number of injured people would be 661,604, including 26,857 severe, 290,065 moderate, and 344,682 minor cases.
Even if all ICU and HCU beds were available for severe patients, an additional 15,053 beds would be needed. If 80% of beds were used in non-disaster times, the available ICU and HCU beds would be only 2,361. The Cabinet Office of Japan (Chiyoda City, Tokyo, Japan) assumes that 60% of hospital beds would be unavailable in an area with an upper six on the JSIS. The number of ICU and HCU beds that would be usable during a disaster would thus further decrease. The beds needed for severe patients, therefore, would be significantly lacking when the Nankai Trough earthquake occurs. It would be necessary to start the treatment of those severe patients who are “more likely to be saved.”
Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and impact; they cause widespread disruption and adversity throughout the world. The Canterbury earthquakes of 2010–2011 were devastating for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand. It is important to understand the impact of this disaster on the mental health of children and adolescents.
To report psychiatric medication use for children and adolescents following the Canterbury earthquakes.
Dispensing data from community pharmacies for the medication classes antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, sedatives/hypnotics and methylphenidate are routinely recorded in a national database. Longitudinal data are available for residents of the Canterbury District Health Board (DHB) and nationally. We compared dispensing data for children and adolescents residing in Canterbury DHB with national dispensing data to assess the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes on psychotropic prescribing for children and adolescents.
After longer-term trends and population adjustments are considered, a subtle adverse effect of the Canterbury earthquakes on dispensing of antidepressants was detected. However, the Canterbury earthquakes were not associated with higher dispensing rates for antipsychotics, anxiolytics, sedatives/hypnotics or methylphenidate.
Mental disorders or psychological distress of a sufficient severity to result in treatment of children and adolescents with psychiatric medication were not substantially affected by the Canterbury earthquakes.
In the aftermath of natural disasters and in the urgency of the deteriorating situation in a “complex emergency”, aid is often provided in a haphazard manner. Organizing appropriate medical help is complicated by differences in the type of disaster, the available infrastructure that remains in place, the status of the country’s wealth, and, occasionally, the outbreak of violence and epidemics. Nevertheless, a sequential order of priorities and changing needs for various types of medical intervention such as (emergency) surgery, rehabilitation, and obstetrics can be made, as for managing medicinal needs, mental health, and communicable diseases. This chapter describes how this medical landscape changes qualitatively and quantitatively and how resources can be adapted dynamically and reflected in the capacity of the emergency medical team (EMT). Recently, disaster-prone countries have seen an expansion in the capacity of national EMTs. For a variety of reasons these are to be preferred over international EMTs, but where the latter are needed it is important that their competencies and capabilities follow both local and general guidelines.
The sedimentological and geochemical characteristics of sediments from Lake Szurpiły (northeastern Poland) can be used as a record of mass movement and climate dynamics since the Allerød. Late-glacial sediments suggest enhanced runoff conditions in the catchment after the retreat of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet, while Holocene varved sediments are interrupted by mass-movement deposits (MMDs). We identified 85 thin (<10 cm) MMDs (type 1) that consist of autochthonous material and frequently occur during the Atlantic period. Mobilization of littoral zone and slope sediments caused redeposition in the deepest part of the lake and was likely related to climatic conditions. In contrasting, one sedimentary unit (>1-m-thick MMD type 2) consists of auto- and allochthonous material and represents multistage processes, including erosion and deformation of underlying varved sediments, rapid deposition of clastic material, and redeposition of previously eroded varved sediments. Seismic activity or permafrost degradation was responsible for the deposition of MMD type 2. Furthermore, varve-thickness variability suggests Gleissberg and Suess solar cycles before 850 BC, when human impact was limited. Additionally, 22 and 11 yr sunspot cycles are recognized in light/dark laminae-thickness ratios and reflect influences of solar irradiance on lacustrine productivity.
To describe social participation strategies and resilience in the people affected by the 2017 earthquakes in Mexico.
A cross-sectional study was carried out with 1504 participants from Mexico City, State of Mexico, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla, and Morelos in November and December 2017. A nonprobabilistic convenience sampling method was used to recruit voluntary participants who met the inclusion criteria: age 18 or over and residents in damaged states at the time of the earthquakes. Postearthquake social participation strategies were assessed with the formats used in the postearthquake Chilean survey in 2010. The Spanish-validated version of the resilience scale RS-14 was applied for measuring resilience in the Mexican population.
The most frequent social participation strategies were related to emotional support and aid supplying water, food, and clothing. The highest resilience was observed in the state of Oaxaca and in Mexico City. Men, people age 40 or over, and people who defined themselves as indigenous were the most resilient.
Factors related to resilience were male gender, age over 40, did not participate in activities of help to the community, no household damage, and belonging to an indigenous community.
Focused assessment with sonography for trauma (FAST) has been incorporated into the initial evaluation of trauma for decades. It is an important screening tool in the detection of intra-abdominal fluid. The objective of this study was to perform a systematic review of the use and accuracy of FAST as an imaging tool for blunt abdominal trauma in disaster/mass casualty settings. A systematic review of literature was conducted using key words and search terms. Two independent reviewers screened abstracts to determine inclusion using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS). For studies passing QUADAS, a meta-analysis was performed calculating sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV). FAST results were compared with the gold standard, which was a combination of CT scan results, operative findings, and medical records of the clinical course. Initial database screening resulted in 133 articles, of which 21 were selected for QUADAS evaluation. Five studies passed QUADAS and were selected in the final meta-analysis, with a total of 4263 patients. The sensitivity of FAST was 92.1% (87.8–95.6), specificity 98.7% (96.0–99.9), PPV 90.7% (70.0–98.0), and NPV 98.8% (98.1–99.5) for the detection of intra-abdominal injury. In our meta-analysis, FAST was both sensitive and specific in the evaluation of trauma in the disaster setting.
Natural disasters, particularly earthquakes, in addition to physical complications, have always had psychological consequences for those affected by them. Stuttering is one of the psychological consequences of shocking events. After a 6.6 magnitude earthquake in Hojedk, Kerman, Iran, two 5-year-old children and a 4-year-old child with symptoms of discontinuous speech (including repeated sound, syllable, and words) were referred to the Kerman Welfare Organization’s rehabilitation center (Kerman, Iran). After history-taking, it became clear that the children had begun to stutter after the earthquake due to fear and stress. Considering the importance of negative emotional experiences in the onset of stuttering, it cannot really be said with certainty that the negative experience of the earthquake initiated the stuttering. Rather, the stuttering had not been present before the earthquake and appeared after the event. These cases indicate the importance of psychosocial support and speech therapy after disasters, especially for children that have higher psychological vulnerability than other age groups.
We analyze the impact of earthquakes on nighttime lights at a sub-national level, i.e., on grids of different size. We argue that existing studies on the impact of natural disasters on economic development have several important limitations, both at the level of the outcome variable as well as at the level of the independent variable, e.g., the timing of an event and the measuring of its intensity. We aim to overcome these limitations by using geophysical event data on earthquakes together with satellite nighttime lights. Using panel fixed effects regressions covering the entire world for the period 1992–2013, we find that earthquakes reduce both light growth rates and light levels significantly. The effects persist for approximately 5 years, but we find no long-run effects. Effects are stronger the smaller the area of a unit of observation. National institutions and economic conditions are relevant moderating factors.
Italy is prone to major earthquakes and has experienced several devastating earthquakes in the far and recent past. The objectives of this study were to assess the level of Italian households’ preparedness for earthquakes and to measure the public’s perception of the risk and its impact on preparedness behavior.
Italian households’ preparedness for earthquakes is insufficient and is influenced by different threat perception components that were assessed.
A cross-sectional study, using an online questionnaire, was conducted in early 2018. The sample included 1,093 responders from a diverse sociodemographic background. The primary outcome was the Preparedness Index (PI), a score indicating the number of preparedness actions complied-with out of 10.
The PI’s mean was 5.26 (SD = 2.17). The recommendation most complied-with was keeping a flashlight at home (87.7%) and the least was securing the kitchen cupboards (15.1%). The PI was positively correlated with a higher sense of preparedness (r = 0.426; P <.001). The PI was higher for responders residing in high-seismic-risk areas and those who experienced a major earthquake before. The predictors of PI were: gender, age, prior experience, sense of preparedness, searching for information, and threat intrusiveness (negatively).
The findings demonstrate a medium-level of preparedness; however, this might be circumstantial. Italians perceive major earthquakes to be unlikely, yet severe if and when they do occur. A validated tool in Italian now exists and can be used in future studies.
Bodas M, Giuliani F, Ripoll-Gallardo A, Caviglia M, Dell’Aringa MF, Linty M, Della Corte F, Ragazzoni L. Threat perception and public preparedness for earthquakes in Italy. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):114–124
Earthquakes may lead to a reaction to severe stress and adjustment disorders (RSSAD). On September 7, 19, and 23, 2017, Mexico was struck by many severe earthquakes. The aim of this study was to examine whether there was an increase in the number of consultations and RSSAD in a psychiatric emergency department in Mexico City after these earthquakes.
We studied retrospectively the diagnosis and triage assessment from a Mexican psychiatric emergency department database from September 1 to November 30, 2017, and analyzed RSSAD and the number of consultations after the earthquakes.
A total of 1,811 psychiatric emergency consultations were registered from the period of study. A total of 141 consultations represented RSSAD. There was a significant increase of RSSAD after the September 23, 2017, earthquake. The triage assessment revealed that the urgency of the consultations was higher immediately after the earthquakes.
Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, may trigger diverse RSSAD leading to increased emergency consultations, especially when those disasters are repetitive. Mental health professionals should be adequately trained and sensitized for possible acute disaster victims. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:686–690).
The aim of this study was to analyze retrospectively the earthquake-induced injuries caused by the October 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake in Pakistan. This is the first population-based study to assess epidemiologically earthquake-induced injuries in the Hindu Kush region, one of the world’s most mountainous and seismically active regions. Unfortunately, only limited studies have investigated the earthquake-induced injuries and deaths in the region epidemiologically.
The 5 worst affected districts were selected according to the highest number of deaths and injuries recorded. A total of 1,790 injuries and 232 deaths were reported after the 2015 earthquake. In our study area, 391 persons were recorded and verified to have been injured as a result of the earthquake. We attempted to investigate all of the 391 injured people, but the final study looked at 346 subjects because the remaining 45 subjects could not be traced because of the non-availability of their complete records and their refusal to participate in the study.
Using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision (ICD 10), we found that the highest number – 20.23% (70 of 346) – of injuries in the earthquake fall in the class of “Injuries to an unspecified part of trunk, limb, or body region (T08-T14).” The class of “Injuries to knee and lower leg (S80-S89),” which count 15.61% (54 out of 346), followed it, and “Injuries involving multiple body regions (T00-T07)” were making 14.74% of total injuries (51 out of 346).
In times of natural disasters like earthquakes, collecting and analyzing real-time data can be challenging. Therefore, a retrospective data analysis of deaths and injuries induced by the earthquake is of high importance. Studies in these emerging domains will be crucial to initiate health policy debates and to prevent and mitigate future injuries and deaths. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;13:732–739).