IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1111: A Rapid Public Health Needs Assessment Framework for after Major Earthquakes Using High-Resolution Satellite Imagery (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Background: Earthquakes causing significant damage have occurred frequently in China, producing enormous health losses, damage to the environment and public health issues. Timely public health response is crucial to reduce mortality and morbidity and promote overall effectiveness of rescue efforts after a major earthquake. Methods: A rapid assessment framework was established based on GIS technology and high-resolution remote sensing images. A two-step casualties and injures estimation method was developed to evaluate health loss with great rapidity. Historical data and health resources information was reviewed to evaluate the damage condition of medical resources and public health issues. Results: The casualties and injures are estimated within a few hours after an earthquake. For the Wenchuan earthquake, which killed about 96,000 people and injured about 288,000, the estimation accuracy is about 77%. 242/294 (82.3%) of the medical existing institutions were severely damaged. About 40,000 tons of safe drinking water was needed every day to ensure basic living needs. The risk of water-borne and foodborne disease, respiratory and close contact transmission disease is high. For natural foci diseases, the high-risk area of schistosomiasis was mapped in Lushan County as an example. Finally, temporary settlements for victims of earthquake were mapped. Conclusions: High resolution Earth observation technology can provide a scientific basis for public health emergency management in the major disasters field, which will be of great significance in helping policy makers effectively improve health service ability and public health emergency management in prevention and control of infectious diseases and risk assessment.