About the PAHO/WHO Area on Emergency
Preparedness and Disaster Relief

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health body with over 100 years of experience in improving the health and living conditions of the peoples of the Americas. It is internationally recognized as part of the United Nations System and acts as the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is also the body that specializes in healthcare issues within the Inter-American System.

In 1976, PAHO established its Area on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief, in response to the request by member states that it set up a technical unit to assist the health sector in reinforcing disaster preparedness, response, and mitigation.

From then on, PAHO/PED's main objective has been to assist the region's ministries of health in the creation and strengthening of national disaster reduction plans for the health sector. This assistance takes three forms: disaster preparedness, disaster mitigation, and post-disaster response. The Area also implements several special technical programs: disaster mitigation in health facilities and water and sanitation systems, the use of the Internet in disasters and emergencies, the Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID), and the Humanitarian Supplies Management System (SUMA).

One of PED's key activities is the publication of technical information and the production of training materials on disasters (books, slides, videos), as well as the dissemination and distribution of this information at the lowest cost possible to all the countries in the region. The creation of this Virtual Library on Disasters is another stage along this journey towards disaster reduction in the health sector.

If you would like to learn more about the Area or its activities, visit http://www.paho.org/disasters or send your request to disaster@paho.org or the following address:

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
Area on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief (PAHO/PED)
525 Twenty-third St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
United States
Fax +1 (202) 775-4578

If you wish to obtain technical information on disaster-related issues, visit the Website of the Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID), where you can search the DESASTRES online database and its more than 13,000 documents.
Go to http://www.crid.or.cr/crid/ing/index_ing.html or write to crid@crid.or.cr

© Pan American Health Organization, 2005