The South Asian tsunami on 26 December 2004 was one of the largest flooding disasters in recent history, causing about 280,000 fatalities in eight countries stretching from Asia to Africa. Shortly after the disaster, the World Health Organization warned that disease could claim as many lives as the tsunami itself. Early-warning communicable disease surveillance systems were established in the affected areas. However, in the following weeks, no large disease outbreaks were reported. In this article, we review the evidence for the health consequences of flooding disasters and consider what interventions are appropriate.
PLoS Medicine (2005) 2 (6): e184. [doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020184]