On 15 September 2018, Typhoon Ompong (known internationally as Mangkhut) hit the northern part of the Philippines, bringing with it flash floods, storm surges and landslides. The typhoon displaced over 270,000 people in Regions I, II, III, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and National Capital Region. As of this update, 90% of the population who were displaced have now returned to their homes. Eight provincial government areas and seven cities/municipalities have been placed under a state of calamity.
Latest figures from the Department of Health – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CAR) reported 100 deaths from Typhoon Ompong, mainly due to the landslide incident in Itogon, Benguet. There are 39 people who remain missing while 82 were reported injured and treated at the health facilities.
A total of 156 local health facilities in Regions I, II and CAR were damaged due to the storm but all are still functioning and able to provide continuous health services to the affected population.
The families who remain in the evacuation centres are at risk of waterborne as well as other communicable diseases due to poor sanitation facilities and limited access to safe water. Families who have returned to their homes are also at risk of water-borne diseases from possible contamination of their water sources. Vaccine-preventable diseases are also a concern in the affected areas since the immunization coverage was suboptimal even before the typhoon. There is a risk of malnutrition because of the devastating damage to agricultural crops and local food supplies.
As in the wake of any disaster, members of the affected community are dealing with psychological distress due to the social disruption and impact of the event on home and family.
WHO’s response in support of the Department of Health
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working closely with the Department of Health (DOH) and health partners to prevent and detect outbreaks and ensure the continuity of health services in Ompongaffected communities. WHO and DOH are coordinating the health sector response of 16 partner organizations. WHO is supporting the DOH with risk and needs assessments; strategy and response planning; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; risk communication; and mental health and psychosocial support. WHO is also supporting the DOH and regional governments in strengthening emergency disease surveillance and data analysis.