Humanitarian-aid organisations assess the situation in Philippines after Typhoon Hagupit

Aid groups have found the Filipino population well prepared for the worst in the wake of Typhoon Hagupit.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) teams have reached the municipality Dolores in the province of Eastern Samar to evaluate the damages in areas most affected by typhoon Hagupit.

Although more than 780,000 Filipinos were stuck in evacuation centres across the country, humanitarian teams have found residents prepared. The city of Dolores was hit by the typhoon first, but the community learnt from the typhoon Haiyan, which meant they evacuated their homes in advance and stocked plenty of food.

Many feared the typhoon would be a repeat of the super-typhoon Haiyan that happened in December last year.

“While we knew the severity of the typhoon had weakened, it was still unclear just how badly the people of Samar had been impacted,” said MSF Head of Mission in the Philippines, Olivier Aubry. “We had no clear information coming out of this area, so it was important that we get access in order to properly assess the medical needs of the people.”

Early reports informed about only two casualties in the city of Dolores and 68 injuries, according to the Philippine Department of Health (DOH). Some children were suffering from fever and DOH has also raised their concern over possible water and mosquito borne diseases.

“They are worried about outbreaks, but at this stage the local health authorities seem to have clear control of the situation,” said MSF Medical Coordinator Karina Cantizano.

Julie Ann Aguilar, from Cebu, Philippines, an areas affected by last year’s typhoon, said: “The main concern is shelter because a lot of people live in costal areas, I experienced the same problem last year during Haiyan.”

“They are more prepared this time. They have been evacuating people since Thursday and they are more cooperative now because of what they experienced last year,” she added.

Noticeable damages were made to housing and infrastructure. The city’s newest hospital also suffered visible damages and residents had no electricity or communications.

The Philippine Department of Health provided the affected areas with sufficient medical needs and no medical interventions were required from aid groups in Dolores.

© University of Wisconsin Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (photo)