Latin American Network for Disaster and Health Information (LANDHI)
Project/Program Dates: 2001 - ongoing
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) supports disaster information centers in Central and South America via the Latin American Network of Disaster Health Information (LANDHI) program. In Spanish the network is called Read Latino Americana de Centros de Información en Gestión del Riesgo de Desastres, or RELACIGER.
Of all regions in the world, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean vie for the unfortunate distinction of having the greatest exposure to disasters, and that exposure may be increasing:
- Between 1971 and 1995, an average of 50 natural disasters per year were recorded in the region.
- Between 1990 and 2016, that average increased to 148 per year (source: compiled from ECLAC).
Access to current, reliable health information is crucial for disaster prevention, preparedness planning, and disaster response and recovery.
The LANDHI/RELACIGER centers assist health professionals, government agencies, and non-government organizations to quickly access vital information that was previously unavailable. They also collect, preserve, and disseminate disaster information produced in their own countries.
NLM and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) formed the Central American Network for Disaster and Health Information (CANDHI) in 1998, after Hurricane Mitch, to strengthen the local and national health information infrastructure in Honduras and Nicaragua, among the poorest countries in the region.
The goal of CANDHI was to promote disaster reduction by capacity-building activities in disaster-related information management. The countries established local Disaster Information Centers to collect, organize, store, and disseminate public health and medical information related to disasters. They also developed resources and tools to enable these activities.
- September 2000: NLM awarded a contract to the Foundation for the Coordination of Information Resources for Disaster Prevention (FundaCRID) to help Honduras and Nicaragua develop a system for collecting, organizing and disseminating health information related to disasters.
- 2001: after the earthquakes, El Salvador joined the network.
- 2004: Guatemala joined.
- 2005–2010: Costa Rica and Panama joined.
- 2006: PAHO connected national disaster information entities in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru to form the Andean Region Network for Disaster Protection and Management (Biblioteca Virtual Andina para la Protección y Atención de Desastres, or BiVa-PAD), using the CANDHI model.
- 2010: CANDHI and BiVa-PAD joined to form RELACIGER.
FundaCRID, based in Costa Rica, operates a Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID) for Latin America and the Caribbean. CRID, founded in 1994, is supported primarily by the Pan American Health Organization and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. CRID works to promote the development of a disaster prevention culture in Latin American and Caribbean countries through the compilation and dissemination of disaster-related information, and by encouraging cooperative efforts to improve risk management in the region.
See also: RELACIGER website