Emergency Response – Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong)

Project Emergency Response – Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong)

To provide immediate primary healthcare services to those affected by Tropical Storm Washi

Project Partners Bureau of Fire Protection Region Northern Mindanao

Outreach Clinics: • Medical consultations • Dispensing of medication • Referrals to the regional hospital

Locations Cagayan De Oro City
Period 6 January 2012 to 23 February 2012

2065 patients were treated in eight evacuation centres


Tropical Storm Washi, known locally as Sendong, swept across the Northern Mindanao region from 16 to 18 December 2011, bringing strong winds and heavy rains causing massive flooding, flash floods and landslides. The hardest-hit areas were in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, where many houses were swept to sea. Most of the dead were swept away while they slept when floodwaters tore through their homes, following 12 hours of torrential rain. Many families were displaced in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Washi, with their land by the river banks, being declared nobuild zones.

MERCY Malaysia efforts

On 6 January 2012, MERCY Malaysia deployed an assessment team to Cagayan De Oro, to get more information on the disaster, establish networks and contacts, plan for intervention and immediately respond to the current needs of the community. MERCY Malaysia in collaboration with the Department of Health and the Bureau of Fire Protection, identified eight evacuation centres in need of primary healthcare services. MERCY Malaysia deployed a total of four medical teams, over a period of six weeks to conduct weekly outreach clinics at each of the eight evacuation centres. The high price of medication for families who have lost assets and their livelihoods, coupled with high risk living conditions, meant it was vital for them to have access to free health services. MERCY Malaysia encountered individuals with many symptoms pointing to possible psychological issues caused by the disaster. In line with local health authority guidelines, on the management of the leptospirosis outbreak in evacuation centres, MERCY Malaysia provided doxycycline prophylaxis to prevent infection in high risk individuals due to the possibility of an outbreak of malaria.