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Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response


2.1. Essential health services - control of communicable diseases

Morbidity and mortality due to communicable diseases tend to increase with disasters. In many conflict-affected settings, between 60 per cent and 90 per cent of deaths have been attributed to four major infectious causes: acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, measles and malaria where endemic. Acute malnutrition exacerbates these diseases, especially in children under 5 years of age. Outbreaks of communicable diseases are far less commonly associated with acute-onset natural disasters. When outbreaks occur, they are generally associated with risk factors such as population displacement, overcrowding, inadequate shelter, insufficient and unsafe water and inadequate sanitation.