Responding to the Philippines
- After Typhoon Haiyan hit in 2013, Direct Relief had pre-positioned typhoon modules in the country, each containing enough medicines and supplies to treat 5,000 people for one month.
- As Hagupit grew to a diameter of more than 370 miles, with wind speeds equivalent to Haiyan’s, Direct Relief reached out to local partners and health officials located in high-risk regions.
- When Hagupit made landfall on December 7, 2014, striking at least four locations across the island nation including near the city of Legazpi in Albay, staff there coordinated response and maintained contact with partners and organizations across affected regions.
After Typhoon Haiyan battered the Philippines in 2013, Direct Relief expanded its preparedness program to the country, delivering three pre-positioned preparedness modules. Two were placed at regional hospitals in the path of the storm, with a third warehoused in Cebu, ready to be sent where it would be most needed. Leyte Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ofelia Absin, chief of Leyte Provincial Hospital, reported in when the facility finished its disaster preparations, including ensuring their Direct Relief typhoon module was ready to go in a secure location.
In addition, other stocks of medical supplies were delivered to Direct Relief’s warehouse and partners in the Philippines ahead of landfall. With Haiyan still fresh in residents’ minds, municipalities and provinces had been planning for disaster prep and response all year, increasing communities’ resilience in the face of Hagupit.
At the height of the typhoon, Leyte Provincial Hospital staff broke open their typhoon module, using the medicines and supplies from the module at the hospital and nearby smaller health facilities. Direct Relief’s delivery of a couple weeks prior, including a pallet of IV solution, also immediately went to use assisting those affected by the storm. As Samar Provincial Hospital saw elevated patient levels and difficulty with re-supply in the typhoon’s wake, they also requested a Direct Relief typhoon module.
Equipping First Responders
Direct Relief worked with officials at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, who coordinate and carry out emergency response plans for the Philippines. The organization was provided with a supply of Emergency Medical Packs, created for first responders. Direct Relief also provided supplies for medical-relief teams like Mammoth Medical Missions, which had conducted extensive emergency efforts in the aftermath of Haiyan.
As first responders mobilized in the typhoon’s wake, Direct Relief made deliveries, driving a 32-foot truck filled with medicines and supplies to locations including Leyte Provincial Hospital, Bumi Wadah, and emergency responders in West Samar. The team was able to deliver a pallet of Baxter IV fluid and more than 4,000 bottles of 1-liter oral rehydration solution to Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital, where finding clean drinking water was becoming an issue. The journey was long and treacherous for many first responders, with poor roads, damaged bridges, and downed power lines.
Coordinating With Trusted Partners
Since Typhoon Haiyan struck this same part of the Philippines just over 1 year prior, Direct Relief had continued its work with the Philippines Department of Health and nonprofit partners. These partners included Gawad Kalinga, the Philippine Red Cross, the Health Futures Foundation, Inc. (HFI), Bumi Wadah, and more than 100 local hospitals and clinics, where Direct Relief helped provide essential medical materials to aid roughly 500,000 people affected by Haiyan. As a result of this work, Direct Relief was again called upon by these partners to play a pivotal role in preparation and recovering efforts for Typhoon Hagupit. When the typhoon moved toward the country, Direct Relief kept in touch with contacts in the area where landfall was predicted, including former Minister of Health Dr. Jamie Galvez Tan, the Health Futures Foundation, Inc., and the governor of Samar.
At Bumi Wadah’s clinic in Dulag, Leyte, storm damage from Typhoon Hagupit required the dedicated team there to put up its medical tent in the dark of night. The organization kept in touch with Direct Relief in the storm’s aftermath. In the aftermath of Haiyan, Direct Relief had granted a total of $100,000 to the organization for recovery efforts, as well as brought the camp medical supplies and nutritional supplements, keeping mothers and the more than 700 babies born there between the two typhoons healthy.
Data Analysis and Next Steps
Direct Relief built an efficient platform to gather and analyze real-time information on response activities to better coordinate work on the ground and respond intelligently.
The data gathered and supplies positioned for Typhoon Hagupit would subsequently benefit health providers in the region hit by Tropical Storm Jangmi on December 29, 2014. Emergency response packs, medications, and supplies, plus typhoon modules positioned in the Visayas and at Direct Relief’s main warehouse in Cebu, would be made available in that storm’s aftermath.