Every year, suddenly, large-scale threats of health or disasters occur across Europe. There are many types of them: explosions, legionellose and other epidemics of infectious diseases, large-scale traffic accidents, unsafe food, and large-scale air pollution.
In May 2000, a major disaster hit The Netherlands. A fireworks factory exploded in the city of Enschede. One neighbourhood virtually disappeared. People died. Others got injured. Many victims were treated in the emergency rooms and intensive care departments of hospitals. More than a hundred ambulance cars went in and out of the disaster area. The pictures shown here indicate the impact of the explosions.
For the editorial board of IJIC, the big bang of Enschede was reason to interview Dr. William Hunter. Until recently, Dr. Hunter was the European Director General of Public Health. You can watch or hear Dr. Hunter talk about other disasters that occurred in Europe over the last decade ( video A + sound A) ( video B + sound B), about the importance of legislation to stop such disasters from happening ( video A + sound A) ( video B + sound B) the necessity of an integrated rapid response to such calamities ( video A + sound A; video B + sound B; video C + sound C) and the task domain of the EC ( video + sound).
We would like to invite authors to submit scientific and practical papers on disasters in their country, that address the following issues:
What was the disaster and why did it occur (please focus on factors such as legislation, co-operation and co-ordination between the responsible actors, integrated contingency plans)?
What were the consequences on the health status of the citizens (e.g. was there sufficient screening and treatment of late complications of the disaster for instance on post traumatic stress syndrome?
What should be done to limit the chances of such disasters to re-occur (please focus on the relevance of integration of care)?