Direct Relief’s partner, Australian Aid International (AAI), reports that the $194,700 (wholesale) emergency aid consignment airlifted to the Philippines following Typhoon Ketsana has provided critically needed medical material for its relief efforts.
“Our biggest problem in the Philippines has been getting medical supplies,” said Frank Tyler, AAI’s director of operations recently. He added that procuring them in-country “costs a fortune,” which means that Direct Relief’s donated materials help AAI provide more care to more people in need.
Experts in emergency field medicine, AAI’s doctors and other healthcare professionals arrived in the Philippines immediately after Ketsana hit, and have been providing medical care to people in the worst-affected communities.
Through its medical outreach and mobile clinics, AAI is caring for flood survivors and is working to prevent infectious disease outbreaks. With floodwaters not receding and more than 86,000 people still living in often overcrowded evacuation centers, primary health concerns are acute respiratory illness, skin infections or wounds, acute gastroenteritis, influenza-like illness, and pneumonia. Leptospirosis has affected almost 2,900 people, killing 210.
Typhoon Ketsana and subsequent storms have caused the worst flooding in the Philippines in 40 years. Standing water and disrupted sanitation systems are exacerbating the potential for cholera and other diarrheal disease outbreaks. As part of its preventive work, AAI is also training local volunteers to be hygiene promoters to help educate the population about avoiding infection.
In frequent contact with AAI, Direct Relief is preparing additional aid shipments to support quality healthcare for people in the Philippines most affected by flooding.