The changing face of crises and aid in the Asia-pacific

Elin A. Gursky, Frederick M. Burkle, David W. Hamon, Peter Walker, Georges C. Benjamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Both US foreign policy and global attention attest to the strategic, economic, and political importance of Asia. Yet, the region faces urgent challenges that must be addressed if it is to remain stable and prosperous. The densely populated countries of the Asia-Pacific are beleaguered by poverty, population displacement, decreasing access to potable water and adequate sanitation, and high rates of disease morbidity and mortality. New and reemerging diseases known to have originated in Asia over the past decades have spread globally by international trade, tourism, worker migration, and agricultural exportation. Unremitting naturally occurring and man-made disasters have strained Southeast Asia's already fragile disaster and public health response infrastructures and the essential services they provide (eg, surveillance, vaccination, maternal and child health, and mental health programs). Following disasters, governments often contract with the broader humanitarian community (eg, indigenous and international NGOs) and seek the assistance of militaries to provide essential services. Yet, their roles and capabilities in addressing acute and chronic health issues in the wake of complex disasters remain unclear. Current mechanisms of nation-state and outside organization interaction, including dissimilar operational platforms, may limit true partnership on behalf of the health security mission. Additionally, concerns regarding skill sets and the lack of standards-based training raise questions about the balance between developing internal response capabilities and professionalizing external, deployable resources. Both the mega-disasters that are forecast for the region and the global health security threats that are expected to emanate from them require an increased focus on improving the Asia-Pacific's emergency preparedness and response posture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalBiosecurity and Bioterrorism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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