World Health Organization

Sudden onset disasters (SOD) occur with little or no warning and often cause excessive injuries far surpassing the national response capacities. These challenges can arise in both developing and developed countries. The demand for rapid trauma care is particularly critical in the aftermath of earthquakes.
Following SODs a large number of Foreign Medical Teams (FMTs) often arrive in-country to provide emergency care to patients with traumatic injuries and other life-threatening conditions. Experience has shown that in many cases the deployment of FMTs is not based on assessed needs and that there is wide variation in their capacities, competencies and adherence to professional ethics. Such teams are often unfamiliar with the international emergency response systems and standards, and may not integrate smoothly into the usual coordination mechanisms. These problems were especially evident following the Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods of 2010.

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