WHO Philippines Response to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): the first six months

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Super typhoon Haiyan (locally known as ‘Yolanda’) struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013. With maximum winds of 230 km/hour reaching 315 km/hour at some points, it had devastating effects, causing destruction across the Central Philippines. According to the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, at the peak of the event 4.4 million people were displaced and 1 551 evacuation centres were housing 398 377 people.

In response to Typhoon Haiyan, the World Health Organization (WHO) received aid from a number of donors to provide essential and emergency healthcare to the affected populations. Contributions were received from the Governments of Australia, Canada, Japan, Kuwait, Monaco, Norway, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom. Funding was also received from the Central Emergency Response Fund of the United Nations and from the Japan Private Kindergarten Association along with staff from the WHO Non-governmental Organization Consortium and members of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.

With the help of these donors WHO has been able to:

  • Meet the immediate healthcare needs of the people in the affected areas, especially for obstetric and neo-natal care, trauma care, mental health and psychosocial support, chronic conditions and infectious diseases.

  • Strengthen the alert and surveillance capability in order to contain potential disease outbreaks.

All these activities have been in support of the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) and tailored to strengthen local capacity. All necessary steps have been taken to avoid duplication of services and ensure equitable access for all beneficiaries to services across the implementation area. Care has been taken to coordinate and integrate health care with other services and clusters on issues such as protection and gender.

As of April 11, 2014 it is reported by the Government of Philippines that there are:

  • Over 16 million affected

  • 4.1 million displaced

  • 28 689 injured

  • 6283 dead

  • 1061 missing

While emergency healthcare activities are on-going in the three most affected regions of the country, the WHO has also begun the longer term rehabilitation of health services for the affected populations and to strengthen provision in priority areas such as psychosocial support.