Via MSF: Philippines: One month after the typhoon. Excerpt:
The first MSF teams arrived in the Philippines on November 9 in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon. During the first ten days of MSF’s intervention, transport was problematic: the few functioning airports and ports were congested, roads were blocked and damaged, and both fuel and vehicles were in short supply. In spite of persistent logistical constraints, the teams gradually gained access to the most affected areas.
Some of the main roads have now been cleared, and travel by boat and plane has become easier. “On the whole, aid efforts have increased, but there are disparities from one place to another,” says Ibrahim Younis, MSF emergency coordinator in the Philippines.
In Tacloban, for example, there are a number of humanitarian organisations present. The few functioning hospitals have sustained major damage and staff work around the clock to care for large numbers of patients. There is no electricity and there is a shortage of healthcare workers as many have left and have not yet returned. In Tacloban, MSF is filling a gap in the health system, providing secondary healthcare and surgical support.
Four temporary hospitals
In other urban centres like Guiuan and Burauen, MSF is one of only a few organisations offering humanitarian aid or providing medical care. In some rural and coastal areas such as the archipelago and the Eastern coast of Panay island, the north of Leyte and eastern Samar islands, aid has been deployed slowly, and MSF mobile clinics are still finding villages where people have received no assistance at all.
MSF teams have set up four temporary hospitals, including an inflatable hospital in Tacloban, and tented hospitals in Burauen and Tanauan (on Leyte island) and in Guiuan (on Samar island). In Balasan (Panay island), teams are also supporting existing hospitals and health centres. MSF also supports health centres and runs mobile clinics around Estancia (Panay island), Palo, Santa Fe, Buruaen, Ormoc (Leyte island) and in Guiuan (Samar island), serving isolated inland and coastal communities.
Medical consultations and psychological support
Patients seen by MSF are suffering from respiratory infections and infected wounds. There are also patients with obstetrical complications, trauma injuries, and with chronic diseases who have had their treatment interrupted or have had to go without their medication. Psychologists are on hand to offer individual consultations and group sessions.