Philippines: Typhoon Hagupit makes landfall, MSF surgical team arrives

7 Dec 2014
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Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams have reported strong winds and heavy rains in the city of Tacloban, as Typhoon Hagupit made landfall in the city of Dolores in eastern Samar at 9.15pm yesterday evening.

At this stage the level of damage in Samar is unclear as power and communication were cut across most of the island.

Sources have reported that some barangay (villages), in north west Samar, are under water and a few islands in the west of Samar have been washed out.

MSF teams in Tacloban

MSF was in touch with its teams in Tacloban overnight who reported strong winds and heavy rains for a couple of hours at the time the typhoon made landfall, with some flooding. As the storm arrived, power was cut to the city.

This morning, residual winds and rains remained in Tacloban, with people back in the streets and a few motorbikes and jeepney’s (public vehicles) on the roads.

At the MSF supported Leyte Provincial Hospital in Palo, no patients were injured during the storm, with all moved to one wing of hospital in preparation for the typhoon.

However the operating theatre was damaged and is no longer functional.

Mass evacuation in Manila

With the typhoon expected to pass Samar today, concerns have now turned to Manila where heavy rain fall is due to hit in the next few days.

The Philippine Government is preparing mass evacuations in the capital. So far over 700,000 people have been evacuated from Samar and Leyte provinces, as well as parts of Iloilo and Quezon provinces.

Meanwhile, an MSF surgical team arrived in Manila overnight, and will be on standby ready to move out to affected regions.

MSF Japan surgical team

The team, from Japan, consists of surgeon Mikio Shiozawa; anaesthetist Ikusuke Hatsukari; and operating theatre nurse Yuko Shirakawa.

MSF has two helicopters on standby that can quickly transport the team to Tacloban and affected areas on the island of Samar as soon as possible.

"We are closely monitoring the situation. We will react as fast as we can to reach the population in need," Yuko said.

MSF in the Philippines

MSF worked in the Philippines during the response to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, providing medical services to the affected population in Eastern Visayas.

Find out more about MSF’s work in the Philippines