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Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on November 15, 2013

Labels: The Philippines , Disaster-Relief

Chuck Clark, Patricia Bacuros, John P. Howe III, MD, Scott Crawford talk about disaster relief for Typhoon Haiyan victims

The devastation wrought upon the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan is a tragedy of epic proportions.  Project HOPE is ready to help, and today we packed up five tons of emergency aid in our warehouse in Winchester, Virginia.  We’re sending $1 million of donated medicines, medical supplies and other equipment to support relief efforts in areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.  The shipment includes 25 pallets of donated medicines including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, generators, surgical masks and gloves.

The health care infrastructure was completely destroyed in some places in the disaster and badly compromised in other locations. Officials say 18 of 38 health facilities are not functioning, including three of 13 hospitals.  Medicines, surgical supplies, and general medical supplies are insufficient.  An estimated 203,250 pregnant and 135,500 lactating women need specialized services for prenatal, postnatal, child health, health promotion and family planning services.

There’s also the potential outbreak of deadly diseases like cholera and malaria, which can spread quickly in disaster conditions due to the lack of clean water and sanitation, presenting a huge threat to people in this phase of the crisis.  HOPE will continue to monitor urgent health care needs of survivors and prepare to ship additional lifesaving medicines and plan further medical assistance on the ground.

Project HOPE staff load boxes destined to the Philippines for Typhoon Haiyan victims

The massive challenge for relief workers in the coming days will be clearing roads for transportation, relief work and determining extent of damage and loss of life. The death toll is likely to climb well beyond the government’s estimate of over 3,600 people and the number of individuals impacted by this disaster is already a staggering 4.5 million.  More than half a million are displaced and many of the survivors need urgent medical care.

HOPE will continue to monitor urgent health care needs of survivors and prepare to ship additional lifesaving medicines. We will be sending a team to the Philippines this weekend to assess the health needs and begin planning HOPE’s longer-term response strategy – because our commitment is for the long haul.

HOPE has been working in the region for over 50 years, first aboard the SS HOPE, the first peacetime hospital ship.  Project HOPE has played a crucial role in saving lives in regions hit by natural disasters over much of the last decade - in Haiti, Indonesia, Japan, China and other parts of southeast Asia.

There’s an enormous need for help in the Philippines, and Project HOPE is ready.

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