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Emerg Health Threats J. 2008;1:e9. doi: 10.3134/ehtj.08.009. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

Meeting the needs of people in emergencies: a review of UK experiences and capability.

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  • Trauma Training, Coventry, UK.


This article summarises the key findings of two research studies conducted for the UK Government in 2006-2007. The first was a literature review of evidence about provisions and interventions to meet the needs of people affected by 'emergencies' as defined within the Civil Contingencies Act (2004). Drawing on both historical and contemporary research and practice, the literature review presented an assessment of people's psychosocial needs after events such as natural disasters, terrorism, and other major incidents. Although some reference was made about the needs of and consequences on disaster workers responding to these events, the main emphasis was on those directly affected as bereaved people and/or injured survivors. The review offered best practice guidelines based on the most effective methods of humanitarian assistance in the immediate, short-term, and long-term aftermath of major emergencies. The second report was a follow-up study conducted in 2007. This was a piece of primary research focusing on the UK's current capability in humanitarian assistance in terms of the extent of planning, training, exercising, and experience relating to meeting people's needs in emergencies. A variety of methods were used to gather quantitative and qualitative evidence of the nature and status of such activity across the UK, including questionnaires, focus groups, and a review of literature and documentary evidence. The report included a number of good practice case studies and made recommendations for the development of best practice in humanitarian assistance within the UK.

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