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Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde en Gezondheidszorg ; 79(1), 2023.
Article in Dutch | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2245976


Climate change is expected to increase the risk of extreme weather conditions (and the associated risk of flooding). This means that hospitals must explicitly take into account a situation in which severe weather jeopardizes continuity of care. They must therefore include a water test in their technical design and take this into account in their contingency plans, whereby an evacuation is only proposed as the very last. Coordination with other hospitals, the government, the fire service, the Red Cross, the military and other actors in the emergency services, as well as multidisciplinary exercises are crucial. In the summer of 2021, this turned out not to be a distant future, but pure reality. This article describes the impact of an imminent flood on Belgian and Dutch hospitals along the Meuse, as well as their experiences and approach to this precarious situation in the summer of 2021. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the contingency plans and evacuation protocols used must also take into account specific hygiene measures, which makes the response to such calamities even more complex. In this article, the authors discuss the risks of flooding for the healthcare sector and make policy proposals for day-to-day practice.