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The public health impact of tsunami disasters

Mark E. Keim, MD


Tsunamis have the potential to cause an enormous impact on the health of millions of people. During the last half of the twentieth century, more people were killed by tsunamis than by earthquakes.1 Most recently, a major emergency response operation has been underway in northeast Japan following a devastating tsunami triggered by the biggest earthquake on record in Japan. This natural disaster has been described as the most expensive in world history.2 There are few resources in the public health literature that describe the characteristics and epidemiology of tsunamirelated disasters, as a whole. This article reviews the phenomenology and impact of tsunamis as a significant public health hazard.


tsunami, natural disasters, public health emergency, disasters

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