Colleagues from around the world participated in the APA Forum "Global Disasters: Lessons Learned from New Orleans, Haiti & Chile," which was organized by the APA, WPA, and the Conflict Management Section and PAHO/WHO.
The panelists compared postdisaster lessons learned from New Orleans, Haiti and Chile, including the recent BP oil disaster in the Gulf. Also discussed was the prevention, mitigation and response of ecological systems and health/mental health consequences, including the health/mental health of caregivers
A robust dialogue with the audience followed, punctuated by General Honore's unequivocal assertion of the current oil disaster in the Gulf being "our Chernobyl" and his impassioned appeal to be mindful of the needs not only of main street and Wall Street, but also of "railroad street," and the vulnerable populations there, including the elderly, the poor and disabled.
The panelists and participants also emphasized the need for public/private and civilian/military institutions collaboration, as well the emergence of new, innovative and effective responses, prevention, mitigation, and response models.
Eliot Sorel, M.D.
Chair, APA Global Disasters Forum