Environmental health in emergencies

Vulnerable groups

Group of African children

Vulnerability is the degree to which a population, individual or organization is unable to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impacts of disasters. Environmental health in emergencies and disasters: a practical guide. (WHO, 2002)

Children, pregnant women, elderly people, malnourished people, and people who are ill or immunocompromised, are particularly vulnerable when a disaster strikes, and take a relatively high share of the disease burden associated with emergencies. Poverty – and its common consequences such as malnutrition, homelessness, poor housing and destitution – is a major contributor to vulnerability.

The following resources deal specifically with the environmental health issues affecting vulnerable groups.

Key resources


Related sites