New Delhi: Over 750,000 people have been killed in natural disasters in Southeast Asia between 1998 and 2009, health ministers of the region said Wednesday in a declaration.
At Kathmandu, the 27th health ministers` meeting has been going on for the last three days and will conclude Thursday. Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and a team of health officials are representing India in the international meet.
"We, the health ministers of member states of the WHO Southeast Asia Region are concerned that from 1998-2009, natural disasters killed over 750,000 people in the Southeast Asia Region, which is 61.6 percent of the world`s total deaths from disasters," the Kathmandu Declaration said Wednesday.
"We also recognize that by optimizing the use of advances in technology and applying current good practices, stakeholders can scale up efforts to strengthen the structural, non-structural and functional aspects of protecting and increasing the resilience of health facilities," the declaration underlined.
The ministers accepted that health facilities, including staff, equipment and other related resources, can become casualties during emergency. They also acknowledged that structural evaluations of health facilities, enforcement of national building codes, financial incentives and mechanisms for retrofitting are important issues.
All the member states agreed that the training to health workers needs to be strengthened to fight disaster and there is need to "enhance public awareness to make health facilities safe and functional in emergencies".