Natural hazards including floods, earthquakes and forest fires claim the lives of many every year and are on the rise. According to a comprehensive report from the World Meteorological Organization in 2021, a disaster related to a weather, climate or water hazard occurred every day on average over the past 50 years – killing 115 people and causing US$202 million in losses daily. Although these are not a new public health risk, the scale and need has grown, due to larger population sizes involved and global climate change which has affected temperature and precipitation patterns.
Natural hazards and resulting disasters directly impact human health and may result in short or long term physical and emotional trauma as well as disease. Furthermore, disasters may exacerbate existing morbidity and mortality associated with chronic and infectious disease through impacting health care systems. These events also challenge the Sustainable Development Goals as, other than their effects on human health, they can cause social and environmental losses, affect food security and safety and sometimes even threaten geopolitical stability.
With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizing and reaffirming the urgent need to reduce the risk of disasters, BMC Public Health is calling for papers on preparedness, mitigation and public health response to these natural events. Effective response often requires significant social retraining of both the public, as well as regional response agencies. We call for research which addresses the importance of preparedness and response to natural events, including but not limited to:
• Health risk assessment and risk reduction
• Public policy and emergency response
• Humanitarian challenges in response to the consequences of natural hazards
• Health system preparedness
• Public information, communication and engagement
• Building and sustaining resilient communities
• Enhancing healthcare and emergency management systems
Articles submitted to this collection will be published immediately following completion of peer-review and editorial acceptance. Articles submitted after 30 June 2023 will not be eligible for inclusion in the collection.