November 26, 2013

Despite increasing amounts of humanitarian aid reaching typhoon-hit areas of the Philippines, MSF teams are still finding villages and towns that have not yet received any aid.MSF’s teams are working in hospitals, running mobile clinics, providing mental healthcare, distributing essential relief items and clean drinking water.In Guiuan, Samar Island, MSF set up a 40-bed tent hospital, distributed 1,200 tents and is providing potable water to over 20,000 people. In the city of Tacloban, Leyte Island, MSF set up a 45-bed inflatable hospital.

Remote areas still in need of aid

“While aid has been focused on the severely hit city of Tacloban, many remote areas still remain unassisted,” said Anne Taylor, MSF’s regional emergency coordinator.“Even in places just a few kilometres away, medical services have been extremely limited. In Tolosa for example, there was only one medical post for a population of 55,000.”In the small town of Liberty, in eastern-central Leyte, an outreach team found that people had been cut off from medical services since the typhoon struck. The team treated 62 patients in one day.Other MSF teams have had similar experiences in villages around Guiuan, and on several of the islands east of Panay.

Mobile clinics by road and sea

MSF is working to address the gaps in healthcare and aid by running mobile clinics in and around the towns of Ormoc, Santa Fe, Julita, and Tabontabon on Leyte Island; in Estancia, Carles and San Dionisio on Panay Island; and around Guiuan.Medical teams are also running mobile clinics by boat to the small islands east of Panay and south of Guiuan. Assessment teams continue to travel to remote areas of Samar Island, Panay Island and Leyte Island to provide medical aid in villages that have not yet received assistance.The most common conditions among MSF’s patients are respiratory tract infections, infected wounds and chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

Hospital and basic healthcare support

MSF’s inflatable hospital in Tacloban will serve as the main referral hospital in the area. In its first two days, the hospital team carried out 52 emergency room consultations, 303 outpatient consultations and six surgeries.MSF is also running temporary tent hospitals in Burauen and Tanauan on Leyte Island and in Guiuan, where the team performs around 300 consultations per day.MSF teams are helping to restore medical services at Ministry of Health hospitals, and at health centres in Tacloban, Santa Fe and Burauen; Balasan on Panay Island; and Guiuan. Teams are providing healthcare, repairing damaged buildings, setting up ambulance services, and providing medical supplies, drugs and staff.

Mental healthcare 

Mental health teams are now working in areas of Samar, Leyte and Panay Islands, conducting group and individual sessions, raising awareness about psychological responses to trauma and training local staff to recognize acute cases

Aid response so far

The aid response after Typhoon Haiyan struck on November 8 was delayed because of damaged and congested airports, roads and ports, and the scarcity of fuel and vehicles.These difficulties have eased somewhat, and MSF is increasingly able to transport its staff and supplies, though logistical constraints remain due to the geography of the area.MSF now has more than 200 international staff on the ground, supported by local staff. They are working in four hospitals, eight health centres, and are running mobile clinics in 37 locations.Between November 8 and 21, MSF medical teams provided nearly 6,500 outpatient consultations, admitted 58 patients in inpatient wards, assisted in 14 deliveries, performed 220 minor surgical procedures and 400 mental health sessions.

Related News & Publications