In response to the massive flooding in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Ketsana (nicknamed “Ondoy”), Direct Relief International has made available its standing inventory of over $60 million in medical material as well as up to $50,000 in emergency funds for its partners providing aid for the 450,000 affected people.
According to partner reports, the main health issues currently facing the affected population include the lack of potable water and water-borne illnesses like diarrhea and skin infections, which are common during large-scale floods. High concentrations of displaced people are usually correlated with an increase in upper respiratory conditions as well.
Direct Relief is currently collaborating mainly with Mercy Relief, a Singapore-based secular non-governmental organization focused on shelter, water and sanitation, livelihoods, education and healthcare.
Several of Direct Relief’s longtime corporate supporters have already pledged commitments of support, including Abbott Laboratories, Johnson and Johnson, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Direct Relief has also made contact with the Philippine consulate in Los Angeles to offer assistance through official government channels.
Ketsana, a Category 1 tropical storm at the time, landed on the island of Luzon on the morning of September 26, bringing over 15 inches of rainfall within 6 hours and causing severe flash floods in 25 provinces and cities. At least 140 people have died and 32 are missing as of Monday morning, according to official government reports.
Direct Relief has a long history of responding to flood emergencies worldwide, as well as supporting healthcare in the Philippines dating back to 1964. Since 2000, Philippine partners have received over $3.6 million (wholesale) in specifically requested medical material assistance.