Experience of a Korean disaster medical assistance team in Sri Lanka after the South Asia tsunami

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Kwak, Young Ho; Shin, Sang Do; Kim, Kyu Seok; Kwon, Woon Yong; Suh, Gil Joon
Issue Date
Korean Academy of Medical Science
J Korean Med Sci. 2006 Feb;21(1):143-50.
AdolescentAdultAgedAsia, SoutheasternChildChild, Preschool*DisastersEmergency Medical Services/organization & administration/statistics &numerical dataFemaleGeographyHumansInfantInfant, NewbornInternational CooperationKoreaMale*Medical AssistanceMiddle AgedPatients/classification/*statistics & numerical data*Relief WorkRetrospective StudiesSri Lanka
On 26 December 2004, a huge tsunami struck the coasts of South Asian countries and it resulted in 29,729 deaths and 16,665 injuries in Sri Lanka. This study characterizes the epidemiology, clinical data and time course of the medical problems seen by a Korean disaster medical assistance team (DMAT) during its deployment in Sri Lanka, from 2 to 8 January 2005. The team consisting of 20 surgical and medical personnel began to provide care 7 days after tsunami in the southern part of Sri Lanka, the Matara and Hambantota districts. During this period, a total of 2,807 patients visited our field clinics with 3,186 chief complaints. Using the triage and refer system, we performed 3,231 clinical examinations and made 3,259 diagnoses. The majority of victims had medical problems (82.4%) rather than injuries (17.6%), and most conditions (92.1%) were mild enough to be discharged after simple management. There were also substantial needs of surgical managements even in the second week following the tsunami. Our study also suggests that effective triage system, self-sufficient preparedness, and close collaboration with local authorities may be the critical points for the foreign DMAT activity.
1011-8934 (Print)
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College of Medicine/School of Medicine (의과대학/대학원)Emergency Medicine (응급의학전공)Journal Papers (저널논문_응급의학전공)
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