To help local health centers in providing needed medical care, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund in the Philippines, and child-focused organization World Vision immediately provided health centers severely damaged by the typhoon, with generators, water containers and water purification tablets.
World Vision staff in Catanduanes, Arra Constantino, a nurse by profession, says that many of the health facilities in the province were affected by Typhoon Rolly’s strong wind and heavy rains. “When we visited several health centers, we saw how damaged health facilities are. A month after typhoon Rolly left the country, numerous health centers are still under repair. Local health workers made make-shift work stations to accommodate residents in need of medical attention.”
Constantino explains that generators are important in health centers to ensure the necessary temperature in cold storage for vaccines, while water purification tablets are necessary to prevent diarrhea. “After a typhoon, there could be a surge of diarrhea cases due to contaminated water, and we want to avoid that.”
Typhoon Goni (local name Rolly) packed with a maximum wind of 315kph left a trail of extensive damage in Catanduanes and other provinces in southern Luzon. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reports that Typhoon Rolly has affected over 2 million people nationwide, and left Php12 billion ($ 240 M) worth of damage to infrastructure and Php 5 billion ($100 M) in agriculture.
Days after, typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco) entered the Philippines, which further aggravated the situation of families barely coping with Rolly.
“The assistance we received would help us cope with our situation,” Ann Torno, a health worker in Virac Municipality. “We no longer need to bring our vaccines to the provincial health office because we now have a generator. The jerry cans and aquatabs would help prevent diarrhea in communities especially nowadays.”
With assistance from the Australian Government Prepositioning Project to the Philippines, UNFPA and World Vision initially provided health centers with at least 1400 maternity and dignity kits as support to mothers and women with disabilities.