Information Resources for Haitian Relief Efforts

We learned about the extraordinary efforts of the University of Miami’s Louis Calder Memorial Library of the UM School of Medicine from Mary Moore, Chair, who posted excellent information on the DIMRC listserv about how they are communicating with and meeting the information needs of UM health professionals working in Haiti.  Many thanks to Mary for the updates and the encouraging news that some of the resources provided by NN/LM and its emergency preparedness initiative (lists of print materials designated as essential for response to a disaster) were used and were found to be appropos to the situation in Haiti. 

Cindy Love, at NLM’s Disaster Information Management Resource Center (DIMRC), coordinated the provision of information about which print resources would be most important to send.  She recommended the “One Shelf Disaster Library” and the list of core titles chosen by the NN/LM Hospital Librarians Summit participants in the spring of 2009, among other resources from HHS and the Pan American Health Organization and others.   For more information on the work of the University of Miami in response to the Haiti earthquake, see the Louis Calder Memorial Library’s site “Resources for Haiti.”

To subscribe to the Disaster Information Outreach listserv managed by the DIMRC, please see the link in the right menu bar under Core Resources.  Once you’re subscribed, you can view archived messages to see the chain of communication from the listserv about providing help to Haiti.

Emergency Access Initiative Activated

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) in partnership with members of the Professional & Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers have announced the availability of free full-text articles from over 200 biomedical journals and over 30 select reference books for libraries and hospitals affected by the earthquake in Haiti.  The Emergency Access Initiative serves as a temporary collection replacement and/or supplement for libraries affected by disasters that need to continue to serve medical staff and affiliated users.

Emergency Access Initiative:


Info from the CDC for Haiti Caregivers

The following page provided by the CDC gives a glimpse, from a different perspective from what is available via the media, of what conditions are like in Haiti.  As an example of how to help people be prepared to deal with a disaster, it is comprehensive yet to-the-point.  The information is updated daily.  Please see “Guidance for Relief Workers and Others Traveling to Haiti for Earthquake Response” at

Another aspect of this disaster that becomes clear from reading this preparedness document is that this earthquake, as have other natural disasters, has left in its wake almost every other type of emergency imaginable, from health-related (injuries, infections, death, sanitation), through environmental (insects, airborne infectious agents, unstable buildings, impassable roadways), toxic/hazmat incidents (broken water, gas and chemical pipes, mold growth), to violent incidents arising from the effects of the devastation in the area.

Message from DIMRC about responding to the earthquake in Haiti

Following is a message to the Disaster Outreach Librarians listserv from Cindy Love about what is available from NLM for help with meeting some of the needs in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti.  (See the link in the right column under Core Resources to subscribe to this listserv.)

“Dear Colleagues,

I’m sure we’re all distressed by the tremendous damage to Haiti and the Haitian people caused by yesterday’s earthquake. Please post news and information to this site about the use of disaster health information and potential or actual roles of libraries, librarians, and info professionals in the earthquake’s aftermath but try not to duplicate what is widely available from CNN and other major news sources.

NLM has an Earthquake topic page on MedlinePlus in English,,  and in Spanish,, which you may find useful for general background information or for explaining earthquakes to children.

If there’s a need in the days ahead for patient education materials, MedlinePlus has “Health Information in Haitian Creole (Kreyol),”, and in French,  Information in multiple languages is also available from the Refugee Health Information Network, There are also many materials at NLM related to disaster recovery and long-term medical and mental health needs, but we’ll save those for another day.

Cash is the best donation for an event like this. With cash, relief organizations can acquire exactly what communities need. The White House is suggesting donations to the Red Cross,,  with additional donation guidance from the Center for International Disaster Information,

For those curious about the NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center role in an event like this, the Center does not have an emergency response role unless requested by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Operations Center. We are available to assist librarians providing information services in their institutions as their hospital, university, military unit, etc.  responds to the earthquake. For example, if a librarian needs assistance compiling medical information for a response team deploying to Haiti, we can help. To request assistance, send me an email or post to this list.

Submitted by Cindy Love

Disaster Information Management Research Center Specialized Information Services Division National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892-5467

Mass Exit

Click here to view raw video taken in a store in California following last week’s 6.5 earthquake.  Note the rush to the exit immediately following the quake.  Even though FEMA recommends staying indoors following an earthquake (see below), we should all be aware of how our exits might impede a large number of people rushing out at the same time.

If indoors

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON on until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway.
  • Stay inside until shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.

New Tools for California Residents

Second-generation maps of tsunami impact zones for the California coastline are now available.  These maps show areas of the coast that would be vulnerable to giant waves generated by an undersea earthquake.  Also, California residents now have a site that they can enter their address and find out potential risks for their area.  For example, if you enter the address for the Regional Medical Library in Los Angeles you will find that they are vulnerable to earthquakes but that they are outside of a tsunami zone.  The site also lists preparedness steps that can be taken to mitigate the impact of identified risks.

California Tsunami Maps

California Risk Assessment Site