Disasters resulting from natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and floods, are increasing in intensity, frequency and impact, in part due to climate change. A natural hazard can trigger a chemical release, which, when the result of a technological accident, is called a ‘Natech’ (natural-hazard-triggered technological) event. Natech events can exacerbate the impact of a natural disaster on the environment and on human health because of the release of hazardous materials, fires and explosions.
This document aims to provide information to planners in the health sector and to public health authorities who wish to learn more about chemical releases resulting from natural hazard events. While the main theme of the document is Natech events, information is also provided about other sources of chemical release subsequent to a natural hazard event.
The document gives an overview of the role and activities of the health sector at all stages of the risk-management cycle. Hazard-specific annexes provide information on the mechanisms of chemical release resulting from earthquakes, floods and cyclones and the subsequent health impacts, as well as key information on response activities. Separate documents on these hazards are also provided.