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The integration of epidemiologic studies with those of other disciplines such as engineering, architecture, the social sciences and other medical sciences is essential for improved understanding of injuries following earthquakes (138). Better epidemiologic knowledge of risk factors for death and the type of injuries and illnesses caused by earthquakes is clearly an essential requirement for determining what relief supplies, equipment, and personnel are needed to respond effectively to earthquakes.

Strengthening communities' self-reliance in disaster preparedness is the most fruitful way to improve the effectiveness of relief operations. In disaster-prone areas, training and education in basic first aid and rescue methods should be an integral part of any community preparedness program. Unfortunately, because of the relatively long time periods between major earthquakes, the public health community faces a special challenge in effectively communicating the hazards posed by potential earthquakes and the necessity to plan and take action before an earthquake occurs.


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