With more than 100,000 people displaced so far by Typhoon Koppu in the Northern provinces of the Philippines, International Medical Corps remains concerned about the plight of those in hard-hit areas such as Aurora; there, our team on the ground reports widespread flooding caused by torrential rain has stranded entire communities, many of them without any means of communication.
“There are still many unknowns”, said Dr. Terence Emmanual Francisco, International Medical Corps health program manager for the Philippines. “At least 20,000 are in evacuation shelters with no knowledge about the state of their homes or the whereabouts of their loved ones. Crops, if not harvested in the days before the typhoon are likely to have been destroyed along with the loss of livestock. As reports come in about damage to health facilities we are aware of at least one hospital whose roof was ripped off by the violent winds. We can expect to receive many more similar reports.”
International Medical Corps prepositioned medical mobile kits and water/sanitation/hygiene supplies in advance of the storm. It is also coordinating with the Philippines government, UN agencies and other local and international relief groups. Our teams will begin to access the hardest-to-reach areas as soon as flood conditions make it possible to do so.
Koppu is the 12th storm to hit the Philippines this year. An average of 20 storms and typhoons each year batter the archipelago, one of the world’s most disaster-prone, with a population of 100 million.
International Medical Corps has been operating in the Philippines since 2013, when Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most ferocious storms on record to hit land, tore through the central part of the country, leveling entire towns and leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing. International Medical Corps has extensive experience in the region overall, having responded to the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, and the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011.