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


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.

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
Med Hypotheses ; 144: 110058, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-622199


In December 2019, severe cases of pneumonia of unknown aetiology were reported in Wuhan city, in China. Lately, the pneumonia was related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the diseases was termed coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). At the end of January 2020, the infection spread all over Italy, but with high infection rates and mortality in the northern part, especially in Lombardy, the most industrialized and polluted region of the country. It is noteworthy that a strong association between severe viral respiratory disease and air pollution has been described. Air pollutant could be solid particles, liquid droplets, or gases and can be of natural origin (such as ash from a volcanic eruption) or released from motor vehicle depletes (carbon monoxide gas) or factories (sulfur dioxide). Volcanic eruptions release large amounts of sulphuric acid, hydrogen sulfide, and hydrochloric acid into the atmosphere. Pulmunary diseases spreadby means of small droplets in thebreath, also called aerosols, and air pollution may facilitate the outside survival of viruses. We suppose that ash and gases emitted from the Mount Etna contributed to air pollution, potentially favouring the major contagion of COVID-19 in the eastern flank of the mountain, as in Catania city. In fact, ash and gases (with regard to radon) are usually particularly intense in winter, with a reduction of emission of specific metals with warmer weather. This is the first paper that elaborates the hypothesis of a potential role of volcanic gases and heavy metals-related air pollution, combined to specific climatic conditions and regional topography, in favouring severe COVID-19 diffusion in Sicily. Clinical and epidemiological studies are needed to support the hypothesis and plan the due prevention and awareness-raising campaigns.

Air Pollutants , Air Pollution/adverse effects , COVID-19/transmission , Trace Elements/analysis , Volcanic Eruptions , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cities , Gases , Humans , Hydrochloric Acid , Hydrogen Sulfide , Italy/epidemiology , Metals, Heavy , Models, Theoretical , Sicily/epidemiology , Soil , Sulfuric Acids , Water