International Medical Corps Scales up Emergency Medical Services Following Philippines Typhoon; Teams Begin Shift towards Long-term Health Approach
November 9, 2013 - Los Angeles, Calif. – International Medical Corps is responding to Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons on record, which has left widespread devastation, affecting 4.3 million people, including 800,000 who fled their homes. Authorities estimate the death toll exceeds 1,000.
On Saturday, more than 330,000 people were still in 1,223 evacuation centers. Tacloban City in Samar Province reportedly has no food, water or electricity. The storm also destroyed hospitals and health facilities.
International Medical Corps emergency teams have been coordinating with partners on the ground, prepositioned supplies and are preparing to deploy. Food, water and medicines are among the greatest needs.
The super typhoon, which made landfall early Friday local time, had winds as high as 195 mph, equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. Haiyan roared onto the country's eastern island of Samar in the early morning hours, flooding streets and knocking out power and communications in many areas.
Many areas in the path of the storm are still recovering from a recent 7.1 earthquake that hit the region on October 15, both increasing the risk of casualties and worsening potential destruction. The recent earthquake had already stretched national emergency response teams, leaving the potential for a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
International Medical Corps has been a first-responder to numerous natural disasters in southeast Asia, including Cyclone Phailin in India in October, the tsunami in Japan two years ago, the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster, and disease, by delivering vital health care services and sustainable development projects that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning hardest-hit populations to self-reliance.