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 Malaysiaʼs 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.