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January 5, 2005

Faculty at the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response Go to South Asia to Help Tsunami Victims

On December 28, two days after the tsunami, Earl Wall flew to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, site of some of the worst devastation and greatest loss of life. Wall, a research associate and director of development at the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, worked with a number of nongovernmental organizations in Aceh, Indonesia, helping them plan their response to the disaster. He returned to Baltimore on January 12. Read the Jan. 20 interview with Wall.

Earl Wall

Earl Wall

The Center for Refugee and Disaster Response has extensive experience in rebuilding health care programs in post-disaster settings and is involved in the tsunami-affected areas that need its medical and public health expertise. Center teams provided public health assessments in tsunami-stricken areas, as well as direct medical care as needed. The teams also trained health care providers to work in a disaster setting. Additional Center faculty were deployed as needs become clearer.

Gilbert Burnham, the director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, was working in Afghanistan at the time of the disaster, but was in close touch with the many relief organizations with which he regularly works, offering consultation and technical guidance. In the weeks after the disaster, Dr. Burnham coordinated technical and epidemiologic assistance as requested.

In the past, the School has trained more than 170 public health workers from South Asia in disaster management courses. One such course was completed just months ago.  This is critically important since the best way to prepare for future emergencies is to continue to build and train an indigenous infrastructure and manpower.

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