Earthquakes and their aftermath can cause serious devastation to health and infrastructure, as they often occur in heavily populated urban areas and happen without any warning. More than one million earthquakes occur every year worldwide, and the health effects caused by them are unique and are complicated by the potential damages caused to the health infrastructure.

Contribute to "a nation of resilient communities" by educating yourself and others on disaster health topics related to earthquakes. NCDMPH has gathered resources for health professionals for all earthquake related events. By providing these resources, the National Center aims to foster resilience through learning. The organization of this content is intended to facilitate self-directed learning as well as provide materials for educators. This is an initial effort and we will continue to add to these resources.

Resilience Through Learning Earthquake

Peleg, Kellerman. Medical Relief After Earthquakes: It's Time for a New Paradigm. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 59(3):188-190.

National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Resource Center: Earthquakes

CDC Emergency Preparedness & Response: Earthquakes

US Geological Survey: Earthquakes

US Geological Survey: Earthquakes with 1,000 or more deaths since 1900

US Geological Survey: Earthquakes 101

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction: Earthquakes caused the deadliest disasters in the past decade

FEMA Earthquake publications

FEMA: What to do Before, During, and After an Earthquake

FEMA: Earthquake Safety Checklist

FEMA: Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt

CDC, NIOSH: Earthquake Cleanup and Response Resources

Bartels & VanRooyen - Medical Complications Associated with Earthquakes. Lancet 2012; 379: 748-57

The Cochrane Library: Cochrane Evidence Aid: Resources for earthquakes

Barbour, V. Earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis, floods, and volcanoes - assessing the human impact of each. PLoS Currents Disasters 2013

USGS: Societal Effects of Earthquakes

PLoS: Tempesta - Long Term impact of earthquakes on sleep quality

Doocy, et al. The Human Impact of Earthquakes: a Historical Review of Events 1980-2009 and Systematic Literature Review. PLoS Currents Disasters 2013

Hata, Shiro. Cardiovascular disease caused by earthquake-induced stress. Circ J 2009; 73: 1195-96

Gonzalez, Darlo. Crush Syndrome. Crit Care Med 2005; 33 (1):S34-41

World Health Organization (WHO): Best Practice Guidelines on Emergency Surgical Care in Disaster Situations

Resources for community and public health leaders to aid in the community's short- and long-term recovery following an earthquake

NCDMPH: Reuniting Children in Disasters

FEMA: Long-Term Recovery

American Red Cross: Recovering After a Disaster

American Red Cross & World Wildlife Fund: Green Recovery & Reconstruction Toolkit

Bay Area Governments: Community Resilience

Bay Area Governments: Recovery Toolkits

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)

UNISDR: Hyogo Framework for Action

Learning Objectives & Activities- Earthquakes

Ideas for Educators of Health Professionals

Below are ideas for educators who are teaching health professionals and may wish to develop learning content or activities related to health impacts of earthquakes. These ideas should be customized based on the learners, their needs, scope of practice, and the educational context.

Options for Learning Objectives:

At the end of the learning activity, the learner will be able to:

  1. Describe how earthquakes impact human health, especially in health systems, clinical, behavioral, and public health dimensions, including evacuation and population displacement effects.

  2. State ways in which health professionals can contribute to preparedness for, response to, and recovery from earthquakes given their scope of practice.

  3. Critically analyze the multiple role-based expectations of health professionals in earthquakes disasters. Major role categories include:

    • individual

    • family (Including role as a significant other, caretaker of children, and/or caretaker of elderly family)

    • organization

    • profession

    • community

  4. Discuss the role of volunteers in the health response to earthquakes.

  5. List environmental health risks associated with earthquakes.

  6. Identify pertinent Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) and describe the employment of key resources on the mass care of populations displaced by earthquakes, with special emphasis on health considerations.

Options for Learning Activities:

  1. Walk through the resources [link to Resilience Through Learning page with resources] online during class and discuss their applicability and utility for the learner.

  2. Lead a class discussion about the health and systems impacts of earthquakes. Possible discussion questions are:

    • Describe the top 3 causes of illness and injury associated with earthquakes.

    • What are the public health implications of earthquakes?

    • Are there unique behavioral health considerations for earthquakes disasters?

    • How have population displacements associated with earthquakes affected the health of the evacuees and what are the health system challenges in supporting these populations?

  3. How can you as a health professional, within your scope of practice, contribute to the preparedness for, response to, and recovery from a earthquake?

  4. In the context of a earthquake disaster, consider the following:

    • What do you expect of yourself?

    • What does your family (significant others) expect of you?

    • What does your organization expect of you?

    • What does your profession expect of you?

    • What does the community expect of you?

  5. Focusing on volunteers in earthquake disasters:

  • Generate a discussion about the role of health professional volunteers in responding to earthquakes. Does this type of disaster pose different challenges for volunteer response?

  • Ask if any of the learners are involved in ESAR-VHP(link is external) or Medical Reserve Corps(link is external). If so, provide an opportunity for them to describe their involvement.

  • Make links to these programs available to learners.

  • Invite a member of another health profession or another specialty within your profession to discuss interprofessional coordination and collaboration necessary in response to an earthquake. Discuss barriers to such interprofessional coordination and collaboration.