This paper introduces the strategic plan for flood risk management from the National Health Foundation (FUNASA) in Brazil. This work was motivated because of the climate change scenarios that country has experienced through the last years. In this current context, Brazil has numerous natural disasters and it needs to be increasingly prepared to face the impacts from these climatic oscillations.
National Health Foundation – FUNASA, Camila Pozzer
Strategic plan, Flood risk management , Public Health, Brazil
This paper introduces the strategic plan for flood risk management from the National Health Foundation (FUNASA) in Brazil. This work was motivated because of the climate change scenarios that country is experienced through the last years. In this current context, Brazil has numerous natural disasters and it needs to be increasingly prepared to face the impacts from these climatic oscillations.
Brazil has dealt with natural disasters in a segmented way between the various public sectors and society, among other factors, the lack of strategic plans to face these environmental challenges. In recent years has intensified the damage caused by these phenomena, mainly due to inadequacy of preventive planning.
Floods are among the natural disasters that cause serious harm to public health and also great social, economic and environmental harm. So it is urgent to find solutions that reduce these impacts and risks arising these extreme events in order to increase survivability of the vulnerable communities.
To act in this situation, the National Health Foundation has worked with a multidisciplinary networking intra-institutional and inter-institutional approach to contribute to the reduction of health risk in emergency situations of natural disasters caused by floods.
In this context, FUNASA is adopting a strategic planning for flood risk management. Its plan aims to minimize the possible health risks of the society through formulation of proposal to confront disaster situations seeking three levels actions: preventive, during and post extreme event. FUNASA’s plan for action in the context of disasters related to flooding contributes to the strengthening of national strategies that can mitigate the health impacts in urban and rural communities, in order to speed up the capacity to react the extreme event.
Risk management is an appropriate strategy for coping with disasters associated with floods because it’s able to reduce people’s vulnerability to this situation by means of strategic plan which can mitigate the effects of changes of the hydrological cycle.
Faced with these environmental challenges, a strategic plan will provide subsidies for the development of an effective and efficient response of FUNASA which will be extremely important because this institution is collaborating in this type of situation in Brazil because has great expertise in protecting and promoting health through basic sanitation and now in the area of natural disasters.
The National Health Foundation operates in all five regions of Brazil (South, Southeast, Midwest, Northeast and North) in Brazilian cities (in urban and rural areas) with less than fifty thousand inhabitants and special communities (maroon communities, extractive reserves, agrarian reform settlements and other rural communities).
The National Health Foundation works closely with the Secretariat of Health Surveillance / Ministry of Health, state secretariat and municipal secretariat. FUNASA is one of the many Brazilian institutions that are part of the “National Preparedness and Response Plan for the Health Care System from Disasters associated with Floods”. In a natural disaster, FUNASA works inside the Program of Force National Health System with a strategic planning run with the three spheres of government (federal, state and municipal). FUNASA also works with the National Secretariat for Civil Defense which is responsible at the federal level to coordinate actions for emergencies and disasters situations in Brazil; and state and municipal secretariat of Civil Defense.
During the emergency established in the city affected by flooding, in the moment that a city of Brazil where was declared the occurrence of an emergency public health of national importance with a event related to natural disaster by flood, the National Health Foundation (FUNASA), in a work with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of National Integration, is supporting efforts to control and monitoring of water quality through technical with expertise in treating and monitoring the quality of drinking water (potability parameters). The technical team of FUNASA performs analysis, orient, treatment the water consumed and operate processes for the disinfection of water supplied to the population.
A strategic planning for flood risk management contributes to strengthen the capacity for preparedness and response and it is a tool to reduce the vulnerability of communities because it considers all the process involved in a disaster situations: risk reduction (prevention, mitigation, preparedness); disaster management (alert and response); and recovery (rehabilitation and reconstruction).
A strategic planning for flood risk management needs to construct a collective memory about the challenges, lessons learned, problems and limits that are part of a plan when its implementation in the practical situation because this planning is put into with the complexity and uncertainty reality which sometimes supersede the capacity to foresight.
Brazil doesn’t have a preventive culture, therefore how to substitute the emergency reactions by the risk management if this cultural organization isn’t solid yet in this country?
As a result of the strategic planning for flood risk management is the integration between different sectors at the same level of government and the integration between different institutions in the same area but in other levels of government. The flood risk management contribute to: reduction of waterborne diseases; reduction of deaths; reduction harm to local health infrastructure and equipment; provide a quick and effective assistance to victims of disasters.
The risk management index measures the performance of a country to identify and reduce risks, respond to disasters and recover them, and provide human life protection. The vulnerability index measures the social, economic, environmental impacts in areas subject natural disasters. The indicators that make up the vulnerability are loss of life and health injury, insurance claim, loss of property, land degradation caused by human action, proportions of gender, public health spending and infrastructure and housing insurance.
Local governments that don’t have a territorial zoning ordered because their cities have a disordered occupation of the soil in geomorphological risk areas, especially squatter settlements in peripheral areas of the law in absentia due to lack of urban planning should be very interested to construct a strategic planning for flood risk management.
The risk management should be a participatory management, with the permission of the active presence of the community who live at the event of natural disaster. In establishing the committee of emergency health, the coordinator of this group should encourage to involve representatives of civil society along with the political managers and technical staff specialized in this type of situation. The strategic plan needs to be changed and actualized to every new natural disasters in accord to the especific reality from each regions where happened.
Differents Brazilian public institutions are constructions their own strategic planning to deal with flood risk management: Ministry of Health; National Health Foundation, Ministry of National Integration, National Water Agency, Ministry of Environment.
Psychologist – Technical in Educational Issues
National Health Foundation – FUNASA
Department of Environmental Health – DESAM
Coordination of Non-Biological Risk Factors – COFAR
Phone: +55 (61) 9223-2959 / +55 (61) 3314-6659
Address: SAS, Quadra 4, Bloco N, Edifício Funasa, 10º andar, ala sul – Brasília/DF – CEP: 70.070-040.