Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most destructive natural disasters to date, has created a world of devastation and chaos in the Philippines. According to emergency aid workers, “massive storm surge and high winds devastated the country.” As a result, aid workers have launched a campaign to help the Philippines restore their vital water resources. Their quick action will prevent further disease and dehydration.
According to reports, international health officials have planned “to help the estimated 9.6 million people affected by the record storm that struck the region Saturday, wrecking the already-fragile water system and raising the risk of water-borne diseases such as dysentery, cholera, and typhoid fever”. Holly Few, a spokeswoman for the agency, has stressed that the need for water has to be addressed. “We need to get people into shelter and get them clean water and food,” she said.
Doctors stationed in the Philippines say they’ve already seen life-threatening cases of dehydration and have further stressed that the youngest and oldest citizens are at high risk of dehydration. Moreover, the lack of potable water has driven people to boil water. Despite this, doctors have stated that there is a growing worry of a possible dysentery outbreak if clean water initiatives are not launched as soon as possible.
Dr. Francis Visto, a doctor helping in the Philippines, has reported that there have been cases of “severely dehydrated children from dysentery.” Moreover, the typhoon has made it difficult for doctors to obtain access to medical tools and technology, as well as electricity. “In addition to clean water, medical workers need basic supplies and electricity,” said Dr. Visto.
In order to solve the water problem, “Officials are working to install 20,000-gallon tanks in three central locations in Eastern Samar, Cebu, and Leyte, 30 minutes outside Tacloban City. The water will be chlorinated and sent through local pipes for public use,” Tata Abella-Bolo, a project manager for OxFam International, explained. Those involved in the effort hope to aid those displaced by the storm, especially since, according to the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the storm displaced more than 615,000 people. The aid workers further hope to solve the nationwide problem as soon as possible. Additionally, shipments of rice and water have been sent out from various nations such as Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United States.
– Stephanie Olaya