Stamford, CT – Dec. 20, 2011 – Medicines and relief supplies from AmeriCares are being airlifted to flood survivors in the Philippines, where Tropical Storm Washi has killed more than 1,000 people and has forced tens of thousands of survivors to flee their homes for safety. Flash floods and mudslides from the storm have affected an estimated 150,000 people, mainly on Mindanao Island – the second largest island in the Philippines.
Two airlifts of medicines and supplies AmeriCares pre-positioned for emergencies with a partner organization in Manila were immediately flown to hard-hit Mindanao Island. Each year, AmeriCares delivers aid well ahead of seasonal flooding to ensure local shelves are well stocked even before a storm strikes. This approach enables local partners to respond rapidly in hard-to-reach locations such as Mindanao Island, where rugged, mountainous terrain and mudslides are hindering the delivery of relief supplies.
“Our partners are flying in relief supplies with helicopters because severe flooding and waist-high mud are making it difficult to reach survivors,” said Christoph Gorder, AmeriCares Senior Vice President of Global Programs. “Since the Philippines is prone to typhoons and flooding, we keep supplies on hand in the country to speed the delivery of aid during emergencies.”
AmeriCares is also preparing an emergency air shipment of 2,000 pounds of medical aid from its Stamford, Conn., headquarters. The shipment, which is expected to leave Thursday, will contain antibiotics to treat waterborne diseases, nutritional supplements and hygiene products. AmeriCares is also delivering chronic care medications to ensure patients with cardiovascular health problems and diabetes are able to maintain their treatment regimens while displaced.
About 45,000 people are currently living in evacuation centers. If overcrowded, these shelters can present health threats to survivors, compounded by limited access to clean water and sanitation, which elevates the risk of communicable diseases such as cholera and typhoid as well as respiratory infections. Water sources have been compromised for an estimated 70,000 survivors.
AmeriCares has been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty in the Philippines and around the world for nearly 30 years, saving lives and restoring health and hope. Since 1985, AmeriCares has delivered more than $165 million in medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian aid to the Philippines.