BENEFITING: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS USA INC
We've all seen the impact of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda on the Philippines, especially Tacloban. Aid is starting to get to some of the survivors, but the sad news is that for many of the storm's victims things still aren't much better after a week without adequate food, water or shelter. Outbreaks of debilitating and potentially fatal diseases, including some thought to have been nearly eradicated, now threaten the country. Areas such as Tacloban are now getting lots of attention, but other smaller towns such as Guiuan, Eastern Samar, were just as badly hit and in dire need of help.
The town of Guiuan was the first to face the fury of typhoon Haiyan when it tore into the Philippines last Friday morning.
The 275kph winds destroyed the municipal government office, the sports centre and the public market. It ripped rooftops apart, smashed walls, lifted vehicles off the ground and dumped them several metres away. Even the 16th-century Catholic church, one of the oldest in the Philippines and which had previously withstood earthquakes, was ruined. The storm shattered not just houses and lives but also the hundreds of fishing boats on which 80 per cent of the town’s 47,000 population depend for a living. Most of the coconut trees were also destroyed, cutting off a source of income for the villagers who sell coconut meat to be processed into refined oil.
“The situation here [in Guiuan] is bleak. People are living out in the open; there are no roofs left standing in the whole of Guiuan. The needs are immense and there are a lot of surrounding villages that are not yet covered by any aid organizations,” said Alexis Moens, the Doctors Without Borders' assessment team leader. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also said it was joining moves to position its staff for a major relief effort on Samar Island.
From Allen, Northern Samar, the ICRC team traveled to Catbalogan City, then Guiuan and Borongan City, Eastern Samar.
“The island’s west coast has been spared from major destruction. However, along the south coast, from Santa Rita all the way down to Guiuan, the devastation is massive. Healthcare facilities in all the municipalities, including the public hospital in Guiuan, have suffered damage. Health posts have been set up by medical personnel to care for the incoming patients with what little means they have,” reported Gegham Petrosyan, the ICRC’s health coordinator in the Philippines.
Please help these aid organizations on the ground. You can help us make a real difference NOW in these people's lives. Thank you for your consideration.
--Jonathan and LA