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An immediate need and vital resource, potable water becomes critical in the aftermath of a disaster; affected communities cannot recover and return to normal conditions until water infrastructure is restored. This paper explores the public health impacts associated with the lack of water supply in the immediate aftermath of a coastal disaster, the effects of coastal disasters on various water supply infrastructures, and strategies and solutions for supplying potable water to victims after a major coastal disaster. Using specific examples of recent coastal disasters, including the South Asian Tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Haiti earthquake of 2010, and the Indus River flooding in Pakistan in 2010, this paper examines common problems and lessons learned associated with potable water resources following a disaster.

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