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Philippines: Maintaining health services in a complex emergency

31-05-2013 Feature

After a disaster, the need for health care increases dramatically. But when Typhoon Bopha hit the Philippines last December, it devastated health facilities, leaving them unable to cope.

Enter the Red Cross Basic Healthcare Unit, donated by the Japanese Red Cross. No sooner had the winds dropped than the ICRC and the Philippine Red Cross were on the ground setting up this temporary clinic in Baganga, one of the hardest-hit areas in Davao Oriental. Over an 11-week period, dedicated health professionals from the Red Cross Societies of Canada, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, and the Philippines staffed the unit, providing free treatment for over 7,000 patients.

The Basic Healthcare Unit filled the gap while health facilities were being repaired, some with the support of the ICRC. Gradually, those facilities could take on more patients, and the Red Cross Basic Healthcare Unit closed its doors on 20 March. It had fulfilled its mission, and had laid the foundations for sustainable recovery.