AmeriCares Philippines team continues to provide critical medical and humanitarian aid to communities heavily affected by recent typhoons.
In early response efforts to Typhoon Koppu, the team distributed family emergency kits in the northern region of the country. The initial aid was followed by the delivery of critical supplies and equipment to damaged health facilities, including a generator for the Rural Health Unit of Dipaculao, Aurora, allowing them to resume admitting patients for their birthing facility and continue their vaccination program.
In early December the team conducted its first medical mission to Barangay Santa Isabel in Cabiao, Nueva Eciji. The two doctors and two nurses and support personnel treated over 100 patients with cases of respiratory infections, fevers and a variety of other illnesses. Other missions are underway to provide more health care access in storm damaged areas. And the impact of the latest Typhoon (Melor) is currently being assessed by the team.
Typhoon Koppu, known locally as Typhoon Lando, made landfall in the early morning of October 18 in Aurora Province with wind gusts up to 120 mph tearing off roofs, downing trees and drenching the region in several inches of rain. Massive flooding and widespread power outages displaced thousands of families, particularly in Nueva Ecija and Aurora Provinces.
AmeriCares quickly deployed an emergency response team from its Manila office to deliver supplies and medicine and to gather more information on conditions on the ground in communities most affected by the storm. The emergency response and global health organization keeps basic medicines on hand in the disaster-prone country to quickly replenish supplies after emergencies.
“Our team deployed as soon as it was safe to travel into storm-damaged areas, many that had been cut off by flooding,” said Paul Gwyn Pagaran, AmeriCares country director for the Philippines. “The sustained rain forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, and we responded with immediate assistance.”
AmeriCares has been responding to emergencies in the Philippines since 1985. Most recently the in-country team has been working alongside the Philippines Department of Health and local partners to repair health centers damaged or destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan. AmeriCares has repaired or rebuilt more than 80 health care facilities since Haiyan – one of the most powerful storms on record – restoring access to care for nearly 2 million patients. The organization also has a disaster risk reduction program in the Philippines to help health care providers prepare in advance for emergencies.
The Philippines ranks among the world’s most disaster-prone countries due to its location on the typhoon belt and the Pacific earthquake rim – known as the “Ring of Fire”. An average of 20 Typhoons per year and 21 active volcanoes, along with mudslides, flooding and earthquakes cause especially heavy damage and high rates of fatalities due to the inaccessibility of vulnerable communities on many of the islands.