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Epidemic Control Toolkit
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Cyclone/hurricane/typhoon
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Cyclone/hurricane/typhoon

Last update: 2022-03-22

Key facts

  • Cyclones/hurricanes/typhoons are associated with damage to infrastructure from high winds, storm surges and flooding.
  • Cyclones/hurricanes/typhoons are exacerbated by climate change. 
  • Trauma (injury) is most likely during a cyclone/hurricane/typhoon, or in the immediate aftermath. In the days, weeks (and sometimes months) following a cyclone/hurricane, the main health concerns include diarrhoeal diseases, vector-borne diseases, respiratory and skin infections and other adverse health outcomes. 

Main health impacts

Health concern Risk factors
Diarrhoeal diseases Contamination of water supplies by flood water, damaged or destroyed sanitation facilities and poor hygiene practices. 
Vector-borne diseases Flooding or stagnant water can increase the risk of breeding sites for vectors. 
Respiratory illnesses, skin diseases and vaccine-preventable diseases  Significant population displacement and overcrowded, communal emergency shelters coupled with poor hygiene can lead to respiratory illnesses or skin diseases. If there is flooding, it should be noted that flood water does not increase the risk of tetanus, but emergency responders and community members may be at increased risk for wounds and injuries that become contaminated with flood waters, soil, dirt, human or animal waste. It is important that Red Cross Red Crescent responders are up to date with tetanus vaccination.
Overall adverse health outcomes Destruction and damage to health facilities and stock disrupt provision of and access not only to primary health care such as maternal and child health services, but also to essential care for chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCD).