International Medical Corps is on the ground in the Philippines following Super Typhoon Haiyan, which affected 9.5 million people (including nearly 620,000 people fled their homes) and caused widespread devastation. Authorities estimate the death toll from the typhoon could exceed 10,000 in hardest-hit Tacloban alone, and reports from neighboring islands indicate the death toll may rise by hundreds, if not thousands. We are working with local partners to provide critical humanitarian services.
The typhoon made landfall in the Philippines on Friday, with wind gusts of 185 mph and a 20-foot storm surge knocking out power and communications; destroying hospitals and health facilities; and disrupting supply chains and basic essential services. Many areas hit by the storm are still recovering from a recent 7.2 earthquake, increasing the risk of casualties and worsening destruction - national emergency response teams are overstretched leaving the threat of a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
International Medical Corps will work with local partners to provide critical health services. Food, water and medicines are among the greatest needs. Ensuring basic water, sanitation and hygiene and infection control are priorities. "Now is the stage of impact mitigation to save lives - to keep those already healthy, healthy, and to attend to people in distress. Both medical and social interventions are needed," says Noel Miranda, International Medical Corps Emergency Response Team.
True to our mission to return devastated communities to self-reliance, International Medical Corps will work to deliver critical services and build local capacity. Over the long-term we will work to ensure that displaced families have access to health care, nutrition, clean water, and psychosocial support. In our Haiyan response, we will use our experience as a first-responder to natural disasters including Cyclone Phailin in India in October and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.