Disasters impact population health. Climate change, urbanization, re-emerging infectious disease and widening socio-economic disparities have rendered the world's population more vulnerable to disasters. In this unit students examine the health impacts of disasters with a focus on the special needs of women and children and other vulnerable groups. This unit introduces students to the disaster management system and the role of different actors within the system focusing on the role of the public health sector considering local, national and international contexts. The continuum from prevention and risk reduction to disaster response, and the transition to recovery is examined from a public health perspective in the context of current and emerging natural and man-made hazards and risks. Mechanisms and tools for co-ordination, partnership, accountability and minimum standards in health in humanitarian response are investigated and critiqued. The principles and ethics that inform practice in the field underpin the teaching in this unit.