Challenges and lessons from the co-occurrence of natural hazards and disease outbreaks
Convener: Nivedita SairamECSECS | Co-conveners: Marleen de RuiterECSECS, Mark Quigley

Society faces immense challenges when natural hazards and disease outbreaks co-occur. For example, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Philippines were hit by Typhoon Goni. This created a challenge in the immediate response phase as people who had to be evacuated from the typhoon were forced to huddle together in evacuation centers, increasing the risk of the spread of COVID. Government mandated adherence to COVID-19 restrictions in the aftermath of the 5 September 2022 western China earthquake has evoked widespread communal discontent. International efforts to deliver aid to Tonga following a volcanic eruption brought COVID-19 to the island for the first time. In other cases, natural hazards can trigger the outbreak of diseases, such as the cholera and diarrhea outbreaks following the devastating floods in Pakistan of August 2022. The co-occurrence of natural hazards and diseases creates cascading effects that worsen the overall consequences. A limited understanding of these cascading impacts creates operational, ethical, and decision-making challenges for society, disaster management, and aid organizations.

These recent events demonstrate the need for improved scientific understanding of interactions between natural hazard, society and disease outbreaks, and capabilities to better model the complexities of risk from multi-hazard and disease outbreaks, and improve understanding of synergies and trade-offs between disaster risk reduction measures.

This session aims to contribute to improving our understanding of the co-occurrence of disasters and disease outbreaks, and the challenges for disaster risk management. We invite abstracts studying all aspects of this co-occurrence, cascading impacts, including health impacts that follow from natural hazards, challenges that arise from the co-occurrence of natural hazards and diseases, challenges and lessons for adaptation management facing natural hazards and diseases.