Natural disasters and the lung

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As the world population expands, an increasing number of people are living in areas which may be threatened by natural disasters. Most of these major natural disasters occur in the Asian region. Pulmonary complications are common following natural disasters and can result from direct insults to the lung or may be indirect, secondary to overcrowding and the collapse in infrastructure and health-care systems which often occur in the aftermath of a disaster. Delivery of health care in disaster situations is challenging and anticipation of the types of clinical and public health problems faced in disaster situations is crucial when preparing disaster responses. In this article we review the pulmonary effects of natural disasters in the immediate setting and in the post-disaster aftermath and we discuss how this could inform planning for future disasters.The Authors: Professor Bruce Robinson MBBS MD FRACP FRCP DTM&H FCCP is a Professor of Medicine and a Consultant Respiratory Physician, Director of the National Centre for Asbestos Diseases and is also the Director of the International Skills and Training Institute in Health (ISTIH). Dr Mohammad Fahmi Alatas MD is a Fellow of Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine at the University of Indonesia and currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. Dr Andrew Robertson MBBS MPH MHSM FAFPHM FRACMA is the Deputy Chief Health Officer and Director, Disaster Management, Regulation and Planning at the Western Australian Department of Health. Dr Henry Steer BM BS B Med Sci MRCP is a Specialist Registrar in Respiratory Medicine in the Severn Deanery, UK and is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia.

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