Well…it is hard to know how to start. For those of you who have lived through this experience, our hearts and thoughts are with you. Given that, I wanted to send a quick note that most likely reiterates what you have been hearing from public health and government and public works officials. The topic of disaster response is a well thought-out one, with a great deal of research behind it. When I studied disaster response as part of my MPH program, my teacher was Linda Landesman. She is a thought leader on the subject and wrote a very important book entitled Public Health Management of Disasters, a useful resource for people wanting to understand how to prepare for this sort of situation. The book is published by the APHA.
The way I think of the topic is very similar to how I think of disease in general. Is it acute or chronic or an acute flare-up of a chronic situation? Which means that when the event first occurs, the needs are different than they are a few weeks or 6 months later. So for where we are now, here it goes.