•  
  •  
 

Document Type

Research

Abstract

Equally severe natural disasters that hit equally populous areas produce vastly different impacts and outcomes depending on preexisting political and economic conditions. International relief organizations and civil defense disaster response teams employ effective life saving protocols in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. However, there is little information that addresses the ongoing needs or assesses appropriate responses to the persistent hardships and ill health remaining months after a disastrous event hits an impoverished nation. This article relates the experience of27 volunteer health care workers who provided relief care to Nicaraguan victims of Hurricane Mitch three months after the event. Issues addressed include how the disaster exacerbates the everyday suffering of already destitute populations, the inherently arbitrary and difficult nature of trying to determine who are the most affected and medically needy, and how well-meaning international health care providers may inadvertently be counter-productive to long term recovery. Analysis from a critical medical anthropologic perspective reveals how the skills, resources, and expertise of volunteer providers may be more appropriately used to contribute to long term sustainable changes in the health conditions of vulnerable, disaster-affected populations.

Publication Date

2001

Journal Title

International Journal of Global Health

Volume

1

Issue

2

First Page

6

Last Page

23

Copyright

© Copyright 2001 by the International Journal of Global Health

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf

Included in

Public Health Commons

Share

COinS