WHO Executive Board is to discuss the devastation caused in Southeast Asia by the tsunami that hit on 26 December and the related relief and reconstruction work being carried out in the affected areas, on the opening date of its 115th session.
Also on the agenda of the 32-member board is to discuss the broader topic of WHO's work in emergencies in general. These include, importance of effective preparedness, response and recovery, in minimizing the impact on health systems during emergencies caused by conflict or natural disaster.
WHO Director-General Dr LEE Jong-wook visited Indonesia and Sri Lanka and had the first hand experience of the worst affected area in the region."The emergency phase is rapidly shifting to recovery, rehabilitation and self-reliance. Ultimately we are working towards a situation in which people are less vulnerable, and are protected from health threats by an effective global system of alert and response," said Dr Lee. "This transition from relief to reconstruction must take place smoothly, with sustained support. Otherwise, as we have seen with other disasters, communities can languish for many years in a state of dependence, with high levels of disease and mortality."
WHO has been actively involved in supporting the affected countries in their efforts to help rehabilitating people after tsunami. WHO has worked together with national and local authorities, other international organizations and NGOs to get medical and logistic staff and supplies to areas where they were most urgently needed.
For more information contact:
Ms Fadéla Chaib
Director-General's Office/Media and Communications
Telephone: +41 22 791 3228
Mobile phone: +41 79 475 5556
Mr Iain Simpson
Director-General's Office/ Media and Communications
Telephone: +41 22 791 3215
Mobile phone: +41 79 475 5534