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1.
Disaster Med Public Health Prep ; 17: e385, 2023 04 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2315480

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: In January 2022, Fiji was hit by multiple natural disasters, including a cyclone causing flooding, an underwater volcanic eruption, and a tsunami. This study aimed to investigate perceived needs among the disaster-affected people in Fiji and to evaluate the feasibility of the Humanitarian Emergency Settings Perceived Needs Scale (HESPER Web) during the early stage after multiple natural disasters. METHODS: A cross-sectional study using a self-selected, non-representative study sample was conducted. The HESPER Web was used to collect data. RESULTS: In all, 242 people participated. The number of perceived serious needs ranged between 2 and 14 (out of a possible 26), with a mean of 6 (SD = 3). The top 3 most reported needs were access to toilets (60%), care for people in the community who are on their own (55%), and distress (51%). Volunteers reported fewer needs than the general public. CONCLUSIONS: The top 3 needs reported were related to water and sanitation and psychosocial needs. Such needs should not be underestimated in the emergency phase after natural disasters and may require more attention from responding actors. The HESPER Web was considered a usable tool for needs assessment in a sudden onset disaster.


Subject(s)
Disaster Planning , Natural Disasters , Needs Assessment , Humans , Fiji , Disaster Victims/psychology , Feasibility Studies , Cross-Sectional Studies , Floods , Tsunamis , Cyclonic Storms , Volcanic Eruptions , Male , Female , Adult , Middle Aged , Aged
2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(7)2023 04 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2298503

ABSTRACT

People impacted by disasters may have adverse non-communicable disease health effects associated with the disaster. This research examined the independent and joint impacts of federally declared disasters on the diagnosis of hypertension (HTN), diabetes (DM), anxiety, and medication changes 6 months before and after a disaster. Patients seen in zip codes that received a federal disaster declaration for Hurricanes Gustave or Ike in 2008 and who had electronic health records captured by MarketScan® were analyzed. The analysis included patients seen 6 months before or after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008 and who were diagnosed with HTN, DM, or anxiety. There was a statistically significant association between post-disaster and diagnosis of hypertension, X2 (1, n = 19,328) = 3.985, p = 0.04. There was no association post-disaster and diabetes X2 (1, n = 19,328) = 0.778, p = 0.378 or anxiety, X2 (1, n = 19,328) = 0.017, p = 0.898. The research showed that there was a change in the diagnosis of HTN after a disaster. Changes in HTN are an additional important consideration for clinicians in disaster-prone areas. Data about non-communicable diseases help healthcare disaster planners to include primary care needs and providers in the plans to prevent the long-term health impacts of disasters and expedite recovery efforts.


Subject(s)
Cyclonic Storms , Diabetes Mellitus , Disaster Planning , Disasters , Noncommunicable Diseases , Humans , Delivery of Health Care
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(22)2022 Nov 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2271297

ABSTRACT

Recent super-typhoons and torrential rains triggered by global warming have had disproportionately large effects on medically vulnerable people in Japan. This study aimed to identify factors associated with intention to evacuate to the nearest public shelter among family caregivers of pediatric patients receiving home medical care. The study included family caregivers of these patients from the Department of Pediatrics, Fukuoka University Hospital, Japan, including family caregivers of young adults with special healthcare needs. An original questionnaire was prepared drawing on previous studies and used for an interview survey. Overall, 57 individuals provided valid data and were included in the analysis. Factors associated with evacuation intention were non-use of a home ventilator (odds ratio [OR] 3.99, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.13-14.03) and not having made arrangements to use a non-public shelter (OR 7.29 95% CI: 1.62-32.88). This means that those who use mechanical ventilation or have secured alternative places to go if they need to evacuate their homes may not use the nearest public shelter in a disaster. We recommend that policy makers consider the use of mechanical ventilation and the availability of non-public shelters as predictors of evacuation behavior when considering disaster preparedness for these patients.


Subject(s)
Cyclonic Storms , Disasters , Young Adult , Humans , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Facilities , Delivery of Health Care
5.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(5)2023 02 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2287575

ABSTRACT

During the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan in 2020, we conducted a nationwide survey of 8170 respondents from 31 provinces/municipalities in China via Sojump to examine the relationship between the distance to respondents' city of residence from Wuhan and their safety concerns and risk perception of the epidemic that occurred in Wuhan City. We found that (1) the farther (psychologically or physically) people were from Wuhan, the more concerned they were with the safety of the epidemic risk in Wuhan, which we dubbed the psychological typhoon eye (PTE) effect on responses to the outbreak of COVID-19; (2) agenda setting can provide a principled account for such effect: the risk information proportion mediated the PTE effect. The theoretical and managerial implications for the PTE effect and public opinion disposal were discussed, and agenda setting was identified to be responsible for the preventable overestimated risk perception.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cyclonic Storms , Epidemics , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cities , Disease Outbreaks , China/epidemiology
6.
Disaster Med Public Health Prep ; 17: e350, 2023 03 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2279775

ABSTRACT

Crises such as Hurricane Maria and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have revealed that untimely reporting of the death toll results in inadequate interventions, impacts communication, and fuels distrust on response agencies. Delays in establishing mortality are due to the contested definition of deaths attributable to a disaster and lack of rapid collection of vital statistics data from inadequate health system infrastructure. Readily available death counts, combined with geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic data, can serve as a baseline to build a continuous mortality surveillance system. In an emergency setting, real-time Total, All-cause, Excess Mortality (TEM) can be a critical tool, granting authorities timely information ensuring a targeted response and reduce disaster impact. TEM measurement can identify spikes in mortality, including geographic disparities and disproportionate deaths in vulnerable populations. This study recommends that measuring total, all-cause, excess mortality as a first line of response should become the global standard for measuring disaster impact.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cyclonic Storms , Disasters , Humans , Pandemics , Mortality
7.
Disaster Med Public Health Prep ; 17: e367, 2023 03 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2263999

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To describe the importance of community engagement from research projects and research centers in times of disasters or emergencies, using the case of Puerto Rico in recent years (2017 - 2022) as an example. METHODS: First, research participants and stakeholders from local community and health organizations were contacted via email and phone calls after each emergency to assess their immediate needs. Second, needs were classified in categories (materials, educational resources, service referrals, and collaborations). Finally, delivery of support was coordinated in a timely manner whether in person or online. RESULTS: Activities were conducted such as handing out materials, providing educational resources, contacting participants, and stakeholders, as well as coordinating collaboration with community and organizations. CONCLUSION: Several lessons were learned from our experiences related to Puerto Rico's recent emergencies as well as some relevant recommendations for future disasters. The efforts presented illustrate the importance of community engagement from academic institutions in disasters. Research centers and research projects, particularly those with community engagement components, should consider providing support in the preparedness phase as well as the recovery phase if necessary. Community engagement in emergencies is crucial to recovery efforts as well as fostering empowerment and making an impact on individual and societal levels.


Subject(s)
Cyclonic Storms , Disasters , Humans , Puerto Rico , Emergencies , Universities , Learning
8.
Kidney360 ; 4(3): 405-408, 2023 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2241066

ABSTRACT

Access to care for patients with ESKD is frequently disrupted after natural disasters, public health crises, and human conflict. Emergency preparation can mitigate the risk of harm and improve outcomes. Before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the United States was unprepared to assist patients facing disaster. We evaluate responses to Hurricane Katrina which caused unprecedented damage to health and property in the Gulf Coast. As a result of the multitude of identified problems with the national, local, and kidney-specific responses to Katrina, new systems were created that mitigated loss after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The improved disaster response system was no match for the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic; real-time changes worsened the effect on highly vulnerable populations, including patients with ESKD. Similarly, preparation can only mitigate the difficulties faced by patients with ESKD living in a war zone. Government agencies need to provide tools and dialysis centers need to educate patients. Beginning with steps implemented in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and augmented after Hurricane Sandy, every patient with ESKD and those who care for them must begin emergency preparations before the need arises. Recognizing that it is not possible to prepare for every possible emergency, our health care systems must be ready to adapt to our ever-changing world. After reviewing the responses to previous events, we suggest steps that should be considered to improve preparations for our uncertain future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cyclonic Storms , Disaster Planning , Disasters , Nephrology , United States , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disasters/prevention & control
9.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(2)2023 Jan 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2226971

ABSTRACT

"Big events", such as wars, economic crises, pandemics, or natural disasters, affect the risk environment in which people use drugs. While the impact of big events on injection risk behaviors and access to drug-treatment services is well documented, less is known about the effects of big events on drug markets. Based on self-reporting data on drug availability among people who use drugs (PWUD) in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and during the COVID-19 lockdown in a Midwestern US state, this study aims to document the effects of big events on drug markets. Qualitative data on the effects of Hurricane Maria on drug markets are based on participants' self-reporting (N = 31). Data collection started after the hurricane and ended in 2020. Data on changes to the drug supply during the COVID-19 lockdown were collected based on semi-structured interviews with PWUD (N = 40) in a Midwestern US state. Findings show that while the drug markets might have initially been affected by big events, most effects were temporary. Drug availability, pricing, and quality might have suffered some initial fluctuations but stabilized as the drug markets absorbed the initial shocks caused by the hurricane and the lockdown measures. In preparation for increasingly more frequent and virulent pandemics and natural disasters, health infrastructures should be strengthened to prevent not only overdose episodes and deaths but also drug-related harms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cyclonic Storms , Natural Disasters , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Puerto Rico , Government
11.
PLoS One ; 17(9): e0273307, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2054320

ABSTRACT

Disasters, from hurricanes to pandemics, tremendously impact human lives and behaviors. Physical closeness to family post-disaster plays a critical role in mental healing and societal sustainability. Nonetheless, little is known about whether and how family colocation alters after a disaster, a topic of immense importance to a post-disaster society. We analyze 1 billion records of population-scale, granular, individual-level mobile location data to quantify family colocation, and examine the magnitude, dynamics, and socioeconomic heterogeneity of the shift in family colocation from the pre- to post-disaster period. Leveraging Hurricane Florence as a natural experiment, and Geographic Information System (GIS), machine learning, and statistical methods to investigate the shift across the landfall (treated) city of Wilmington, three partially treated cites on the hurricane's path, and two control cities off the path, we uncover dramatic (18.9%), widespread (even among the partially treated cities), and enduring (over at least 3 months) escalations in family colocation. These findings reveal the powerful psychological and behavioral impacts of the disaster upon the broader populations, and simultaneously remarkable human resilience via behavioral adaptations during disastrous times. Importantly, the disaster created a gap across socioeconomic groups non-existent beforehand, with the disadvantaged displaying weaker lifts in family colocation. This sheds important lights on policy making and policy communication to promote sustainable family colocation, healthy coping strategies against traumatic experiences, social parity, and societal recovery.


Subject(s)
Cyclonic Storms , Disasters , Family , Adaptation, Psychological , Family/psychology , Geographic Information Systems , Humans , Resilience, Psychological , Socioeconomic Factors , Vulnerable Populations/psychology , Vulnerable Populations/statistics & numerical data
12.
Environ Res ; 214(Pt 3): 114020, 2022 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2035991

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To assess the economic and mental health impacts of COVID-19 in the presence of previous exposure to flooding events. METHODS: Starting in April 2018, the Texas Flood Registry (TFR) invited residents to complete an online survey regarding their experiences with Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding events. Starting in April 2020, participants nationwide were invited to complete a brief online survey on their experiences during the pandemic. This study includes participants in the TFR (N = 20,754) and the COVID-19 Registry (N = 8568) through October 2020 (joint N = 2929). Logistic regression and generalized estimating equations were used to examine the relationship between exposure to flooding events and the economic and mental health impacts of COVID-19. RESULTS: Among COVID-19 registrants, 21% experienced moderate to severe anxiety during the pandemic, and 7% and 12% of households had difficulty paying rent and bills, respectively. Approximately 17% of Black and 15% of Hispanic households had difficulty paying rent, compared to 5% of non-Hispanic white households. The odds of COVID-19 income loss are 1.20 (1.02, 1.40) times higher for those who previously had storm-related home damage compared to those who did not and 3.84 (3.25-4.55) times higher for those who experienced Harvey income loss compared to those who did not. For registrants for whom Harvey was a severe impact event, the odds of having more severe anxiety during the pandemic are 5.14 (4.02, 6.58) times higher than among registrants for whom Harvey was a no meaningful impact event. CONCLUSIONS: Multiple crises can jointly and cumulatively shape health and wellbeing outcomes. This knowledge can help craft emergency preparation and intervention programs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cyclonic Storms , COVID-19/epidemiology , Floods , Humans , Mental Health , Pandemics
13.
Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw ; 25(10): 641-648, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2028986

ABSTRACT

Online health-related misinformation has become a major problem in society and in-depth research is needed to understand its propagation patterns and underlying mechanisms. This study proposes a psychological typhoon eye effect to understand how health-related misinformation spreads during the pandemic using two national studies. In Study 1, we collected online search data from the United States and China to explore the relationship between the physical distance from the epicenter and the spread of health-related misinformation. Two common pieces of health-related misinformation were examined: "Microwaves kill coronavirus" in the United States and "Taking a hot bath can prevent against COVID-19" in China. Our results indicated a "typhoon eye effect" in the spread of two actual pieces of health-related misinformation using online data from the United States and China. In Study 2, we fabricated a piece of health-related misinformation, "Wash Clothes with Salt Water to Block Infection," and measured the spread behavior and perceived credibility of the misinformation. Again, we observed a typhoon eye effect on the spread behavior as well as the perceived credibility of health-related misinformation among people with limited education. In addition, based on the stimulus-organism-response theory, perceived credibility could serve as a mediator in the relationship between physical distance from the epicenter and the spread of health-related misinformation. Our results highlight the importance of psychological approaches to understanding the propagation patterns of health-related misinformation. The present findings provide a new perspective for development of prevention and control strategies to reduce the spread of health-related misinformation during pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cyclonic Storms , Humans , United States , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Communication , Internet , Water
14.
Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol ; 57(12): 2423-2432, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2007125

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the association between adverse experiences during Hurricane María and mental and emotional distress in Puerto Rico. METHODS: This cross-sectional study used baseline data from adult (30-75 years) participants of the Puerto Rico Observational Study of Psychosocial, Environmental, and Chronic Disease Trends (PROSPECT). Enrolled individuals prior to COVID-19 who completed a 33-item questionnaire on Hurricane María-related experiences (sub-categorized as personal, service, or property losses), depression symptomatology, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety were included for analysis (n = 456). RESULTS: Most participants experienced fear for their family's safety, damage to their home and personal items, communication outages, and water shortages. Each additional stressor was significantly associated with higher odds of depression symptoms, PTSD, and anxiety. Personal losses were significantly associated with higher likelihood of all outcomes, while services losses were associated with depression symptoms and anxiety; property loss was not significantly associated with any outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Adverse experiences during a major natural disaster are associated with mental and emotional distress. Strategies to minimize hardships during natural disasters, especially personal and service losses, are essential to preserve mental health. Post-disaster psychological support to individuals is crucial.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cyclonic Storms , Psychological Distress , Adult , Humans , Puerto Rico/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology
16.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(41): 25200, 2020 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1383156
17.
PLoS One ; 17(7): e0272088, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1968875

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Outside of pandemics, there is little information about occurrence of prolonged unplanned K-12 school closures (PUSC). We describe here the reasons, characteristics, and patterns of PUSC in the United States during 8 consecutive inter-pandemic academic years, 2011-2019. METHODS: From August 1, 2011 through June 30, 2019, daily systematic online searches were conducted to collect data on publicly announced unplanned school closures lasting ≥1 school days in the United States. Closures were categorized as prolonged when schools were closed for ≥5 unplanned days (approximating one full workweek), excluding weekends and scheduled days off per school calendars. RESULTS: During the eight academic years, a total of 22,112 PUSCs were identified, affecting over 800,000 teachers and 13 million students that resulted in 91.5 million student-days lost. A median of 62.9% of students in PUSC-affected schools were eligible for subsidized school meals. Most affected schools were in cities (35%) and suburban areas (33%). Natural disasters (47%), adverse weather conditions (35%), and budget/teacher strikes (15%) were the most frequently cited reasons for PUSC; illness accounted for 1%, and building/facility issues, environmental issues and violence together accounted for the remaining 2%. The highest number of PUSCs occurred in Health and Human Services Regions 2, 3, 4, and 6 encompassing areas that are frequently in the path of hurricanes and tropical storms. The majority of PUSCs in these regions were attributed to a handful of hurricanes during the fall season, including hurricanes Sandy, Irma, Harvey, Florence, and Matthew. CONCLUSIONS: PUSCs occur annually in the United States due to a variety of causes and are associated with a substantive loss of student-days for in-school learning. Both these prior experiences with PUSCs and those during the current COVID-19 pandemic illustrate a need for creating sustainable solutions for high-quality distance learning and innovative supplemental feeding programs nationwide, especially in disaster-prone areas.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cyclonic Storms , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Schools , Students , United States/epidemiology
18.
PLoS One ; 17(6): e0269315, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933324

ABSTRACT

Natural disasters can have devastating and long-lasting effects on a community's emotional well-being. These effects may be distributed unequally, affecting some communities more profoundly and possibly over longer time periods than others. Here, we analyze the effects of four major US hurricanes, namely, Irma, Harvey, Florence, and Dorian on the emotional well-being of the affected communities and regions. We show that a community's emotional response to a hurricane event can be measured from the content of social media that its population posted before, during, and after the hurricane. For each hurricane making landfall in the US, we observe a significant decrease in sentiment in the affected areas before and during the hurricane followed by a rapid return to pre-hurricane baseline, often within 1-2 weeks. However, some communities exhibit markedly different rates of decline and return to previous equilibrium levels. This points towards the possibility of measuring the emotional resilience of communities from the dynamics of their online emotional response.


Subject(s)
Cyclonic Storms , Disasters , Natural Disasters , Social Media , Emotions , Humans
19.
Asian J Anesthesiol ; 60(2): 43-45, 2022 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1919130
20.
Public Health ; 209: 23-29, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1907696

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Factors associated with an individual's awareness of vulnerability can be modified by the infrastructure of a city. These factors may impact disaster preparedness among local populations in an infrastructure-resilient city, which further influences the health risks of various population subgroups. STUDY DESIGN: This was a population-based study. METHODS: Four population subgroups, which have previously been reported to be related to awareness of vulnerability (i.e. past experiences, sociodemographic deprivation, poor housing conditions and family medical needs), were analysed for their impacts on disaster preparedness. Validated population-based phone interviews (n = 856) were conducted in Hong Kong. Three types of disaster preparedness were studied: (1) physical preparedness; (2) social preparedness; and (3) education preparedness. RESULTS: Previous experience of social hazards, accidental hazards and epidemics increased disaster preparedness among the local population. Specifically, experiences of accidental hazards and social hazards were positively associated with physical preparedness (odds ratios 1.626, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.215, 2.172) and 1.501 [95% CI 1.114, 2.024], respectively). However, experiences of natural hazards did not increase preparedness, even in Hong Kong, which is a city with high 'disaster resilience' because of its well-developed infrastructure. Moreover, individuals with a low educational level or low income had lower education preparedness, unmarried individuals had lower social preparedness, and poor housing conditions of non-private-housing households had negative associations with education preparedness. These findings partially align with local disaster responses to the 2018 Typhoon Mangkhut, the 2019 social unrest and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, all of which were observed after the 2018 survey reported in this study. CONCLUSIONS: Social and environmental interventions should be targeted to marginalised subpopulations through location-based community strategies to encourage increased environmental knowledge and participation in disaster preparedness activities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cyclonic Storms , Disaster Planning , Disasters , Humans , Pandemics
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