Press Release

International Medical Corps Scales up Emergency Medical Services Following Philippines Typhoon; Teams Begin Shift towards Long-term Health Approach

In partnership with the Philippine Department of Health and humanitarian partners on the ground, International Medical Corps is providing medical services through ten mobile medical units (MMUs) in some of the hardest-hit areas following Typhoon Haiyan. International Medical Corps is also conducting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); medical; and mental health assessments in affected communities, and has begun nutrition screening and treatment referral for children.

By working through MMUs, International Medical Corps has been able to provide critical health services on remote islands where families struggle to access medical care and basic resources. International Medical Corps is currently providing ongoing health services through MMUs in Roxas and the surrounding area, including Gabac, Ameligan, and Lanoy. Near Capiz, MMU teams have also visited Ameligan, Cabugao, Sangkal, and Pandan, treating nearly 400 patients. In Leyte, International Medical Corps has one MMU operating in Tacloban at Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Hospital, and three other MMUs rotating between eight municipalities in the south, including Casmada, Tabon-Tabon, Mayorga, McArthur, Dagami, La Paz, and Dulag. In Cebu, MMUs are targeting evacuation centers, providing health care to the displaced and psychological first aid training to staff.

Typhoon Haiyan, equivalent to a category 5 hurricane, has affected an estimated 9.9 million people in the Philippines. The storm, which made landfall on November 8, caused widespread devastation, displacing 3.4 million people and destroying over 1 million houses (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). The provision of health services and access to safe water continue to be top priorities for the affected regions. The Department of Health has requested support for their vaccination program, covering measles, tetanus and polio in children, tuberculosis and Hepatitis B for newborns, and for influenza and pneumococcal within the elderly.

With livelihoods at risk and poor access to some affected areas, malnutrition is a serious concern, and 1.5 million children under 5 are at risk of acute malnutrition. Almost 10% of the typhoon-affected population is in need of reproductive health services, and International Medical Corps’ rapid assessments show that supplies and birthing kits are lacking. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 61,548 women in the affected areas are experiencing gender-based violence (GBV). International Medical Corps assessments also confirm that mental health is a significant concern.

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 2 years ago, the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

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