November 20, 2013

Ten days after Typhoon Haiyan, seaports and airports are congested with relief cargo. Meanwhile many remote communities continue to fend for themselves.“Help us please.” The words are painted in large red letters on a house in Tanauan, a town of 50,000, south of Tacloban on the island of Leyte.The town was almost completely destroyed. People are living on the streets, begging for water, food and shelter. Bodies are floating in the rivers.An enormous wave swept away everything in its path. The pile of debris still blocks most roads. Only the main road has finally been cleared, allowing access for vehicles delivering aid."The further you go into the rural areas, the less aid you find. Some people have no other option than to sleep outside under the heavy rains,” said Caroline Seguin, MSF emergency coordinator.“The main obstacle is logistics. Small airports on the island of Leyte are not designed to handle large airfreight. They can’t unload and store the huge amounts of cargo."“Aid is not reaching the most remote areas," said Laurent Sury, head of MSF’s emergency programs. "More support should be given to the airport, including setting up additional rotations of aircrafts to accelerate the dispatching of supply to the affected areas.“MSF is focused on reaching the most isolated areas and we’re seeing more and more patients."In Tanauan, 70 per cent of the 200 daily consultations are for patients with infected wounds."The risk of contracting tetanus is one of our main concerns. We must be able to vaccinate the injured quickly but also need fridges and electricity supply to store the vaccines," said Seguin.The deputy mayor, a doctor, has been providing basic medical care in the town hall. MSF supplied the municipality with medicines and medical equipment, and is installing a health centre to restore primary care services in Tanauan.MSF is expanding its medical aid on three islands in the Philippines. MSF is working in the Guiuan area on Samar Island, in the areas around Tacloban, Ormoc and Burauen on Leyte Island and the area around Roxas and Estancia on Panay Island. An inflatable hospital has been set up in Tacloban to provide secondary healthcare services and serve as a referral centre for health posts. 

Related News & Publications