Review, overview, prospects

One year after “Haiyan”: the humedica help in the spotlight

by Lina Koch,  2014/11/08

In the night of November 8th, 2013 the lives of hundreds of thousands of people have changed completely within a few hours. A typhoon, stronger than many have ever experienced, has brought unconceivable destruction over large parts of the Philippian islands Leyte and Samar.

More than 6,300 people lost their lives in the struggle against the typhoon “Haiyan”; huts, houses and resources of income have been razed to the ground; suddenly, there is need and helplessness all around.

Review: The first hours and days after typhoon “Haiyan”

When the extend of the catastrophe first becomes known, humedica reacts immediately. On the same day, a first field unit team is heading towards the Philippian capital Manila. Not more than 48 hours later, the humedica doctors arrive as the first international medical team in the coast town Tacloban, which had been hit very hard, and start immediately with the treatment of injured persons.

“Nobody could imagine this catastrophe, this degree of destruction. Abandoned emptiness, the airport a destroyed fragment, desperate people, the smell of decay, chaos. People who wanted to flee, this “inaccessible city” in which we had to be flown by helicopter – everything seemed surreal and apocalyptic. As if someone had sucked the breath away.

Nothing would work anymore; there was no car, no water, no petrol, no food, no network, no electricity. The smell of decay was hovering above everything and underneath, there was a kind of numbness with shock”, remembers coordinator Margret Müller.

humedica answers the great need by sending further medical teams and several tons of aid supplies. The doctors are treating without interruption.

One week after typhoon “Haiyan”, humedica can take over the partly destroyed “Mother of Mercy” hospital in the center of Tacloban. From this moment on, they are able to provide help in a safe environment.

At the same time, teams with mobile clinics have also reached isolated places, in order to care for injured persons there. The suffering and the destruction were still important, but once again the direct humedica help has worked.

Overview: One year of actual help

Since the first humedica helpers have arrived in Tacloban, comprehensive help measures could be realized, which not only have helped the concerned people during the hard hours after typhoon “Haiyan”, but who have also accompanied them during the following months on their way back to everyday life.

Since the first wound was treated, the humedica doctors and nurses have been able to treat nearly 25,000 more patients last year. This has not only comprised the acute emergency medical aid for the people in Tacloban and its surroundings, but also some bigger or smaller operations at the “Mother of Mercy” hospital, which humedica could give back to the Philippian authorities in June 2014, having realized comprehensive repair and renovating works.

In the context of this commitment, the humedica helpers repeatedly meet people who have been especially hard hit by typhoon “Haiyan”. Boys and girls who wouldn’t be alive anymore, without individual care. These are circumstances in which the humedica help for particular cases takes effect. Last year on the Philippines, this kind of help could be realized in twelve cases.

Like with the now one year old Bea. The little girl had been found much underfed. Because of the traumatic experiences caused by the typhoon, her mother produced no more milk and couldn’t feed her baby appropriately any longer. A special treatment for several months has strengthened the girl and her mother again, so that today they are healthy again.

Besides the medical help humedica has distributed 23 tons of urgently needed aid supplies during the last twelve months, to people who had lost everything by the storm. Tents offered a first dry accommodation to families, whose home had been destroyed; solar lamps dispensed protective light in the night and hygienic packages guaranteed personal hygiene with dignity and a protection against threatening epidemics.

In order to be on the people’s side long-term, also after the acute emergency help, the humedica sponsorship program has supported 251 very needy families since January of this year. Comprehensive measures, adapted to the individual needs accompany the families on their way out of the catastrophe.

Special training, as well as distribution of aid supplies enables the adults to take on a professional occupation again. The children receive school materials, the compulsory school uniforms and the transport fees for their way to school. Moreover, all family members get a free health insurance.

Thanks to your help, humedica has been able to achieve many things during the last 365 days. Human lives could be saved, wounds could be healed and hope could be offered.

The humedica help measures at a glance:

  • 73 field unit members
  • 24,414 patients treated
  • 12 help measures for particular cases realized
  • 23.49 tons of aid supplies distributed
  • 251 families in the sponsorship program

Prospects: The help continues

365 days after typhoon “Haiyan”, the humedica help in the concerned areas continues. Despite the fact that many things could be achieved and realized within one year, the catastrophe remains a daily part of the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Be it because of the loss of a source of income, the life inside a makeshift accommodation or the permanent pain caused by the loss of a beloved person.

In order to fight the lack of housing space, humedica currently plans the construction of 400 accommodations. Moreover, three health stations as well as one school are being reconstructed. And also the “Mother of Mercy” hospital, which has been so important in the beginning of the catastrophe, is being supported by the installation of a new operating room.

Also the 251 families in the humedica sponsorship program will, of course, be accompanied during the next months and years, until their independent supply is assured and they can be left to live an autonomous life.

Dear friends and sponsors, it is only thanks to your support that the help for the victims of typhoon “Haiyan” could be realized so quickly, efficiently and comprehensively. On behalf of all those who have received your help, we want to thank you cordially!

Unfortunately, there are also catastrophes on this earth, which do not dispose of the same legitimate medial public as typhoon “Haiyan”. Thus at this moment, there are also people suffering from unspeakable misery, for example in Liberia, Ethiopia or Lebanon. That’s why we are asking you today: Remain by our side also in the future and help people in need. Thank you very much!

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