Typhoon Durian Emergency Response in Bicol, Philippines

Project Empowering the Local Health Department
Project Partners


Typhoon Durian hit the region of Bicol in Philippines in December 2006, carrying with it heavy winds and strong rain that destabilized the slopes of a volcano in the northern province of Albay, causing mud and debris to come gushing down the mountain. Thousands of people living in villages at the foot of the volcano perished as a result of the disaster and entire villages were buried in thick, black volcanic sludge. Tens of thousands of people were displaced by the mudslides and were forced to evacuate to schools, churches and other temporary shelters in the region. The storm also left over hundreds
of thousands people stranded in their homes without electricity, food and water.

Empowering the Local Health Department the emergency and response team from MERCY Malaysia arrived in Legaspi, a city in the Albay province, on December 5th to conduct an assessment of the situation. MERCY Malaysia acted as field coordinator to support the local health department in coordinating all relief to the area.

This involved linking all the humanitarian players that were on hand to assist the health department channel aid more effi ciently. The MERCY Malaysia team assisted the health department to set up meetings with all the humanitarian organisations present in the health sector to discuss their plans, determine the resources available and collectively decide how to best meet the needs of the affected population.

Distribution of Hygiene Kits

MERCY MalaysiaŹ¼s emergency and response team was assigned to distribute hygiene kits to families in several villages in Albay. The kits consisted of a pail, bath soap, washing soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear for women and children, sanitary pads, rubber slippers, face towels and bath towels. The items for the hygiene kits were purchased locally with funding from UNFPA. The total cost of the project was USD 28,400 and the kits were distributed to 4,630 families.

Mobile Clinics

The medical team arrived in Manila on December 17th after being stranded in Labuan for five days due to strong winds. The four-person team consisted of a doctor, medical assistant, nurse, and logistician who were fl own in by the Malaysian Armed Forces. Upon arrival, the team met with the National Disaster Coordinating Council and were advised to report to the Regional Health Offi ce of Bicol in order to carry out their mission in Legaspi. The MERCY Malaysia team was assigned to run mobile clinics providing primary healthcare services at the following locations:
1. St. Roque Evacuation Centre
2. Buraguis Elementary School
3. Estanza Evacuation Centre
4. Bombon Elementary School
5. Rural Health Centre of Malliliput
6. Rural Health Centre of Malinao

The team was able to rent a van inclusive of a driver to run the mobile clinic. They also relied on local transportation such as the trishaw to move around to short distances. MERCY Malaysia worked closely with the local health department who provided a lot of support. A total of 536 patients were treated through these mobile clinics.