WHO Calls Typhoon's Medical Challenges 'Monumental'
Images of the swath of devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the central Philippines are reminiscent of the tsunami's aftermath a decade ago in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.And indeed, the World Health Organization grades the great typhoon of 2013 as a category 3 disaster — its most severe category."The scale [of the typhoon's damage] is huge," Dr. Richard Brennan of the World Health Organization tells Shots. "It's monumental. This is one of the biggest emergencies we've dealt with for some time."Brennan, the WHO's director of emergency risk management and humanitarian response, ticks off the grim metrics:
- About 9.8 million people affected, according to Philippine estimates.
- 10,000 or more people killed, based on reports from Philippine government officials in the affected areas.
- An estimated five major injuries for every death, according to Brennan.
- Infrastructure for clean water, electricity and medical care destroyed or crippled.
- 2.5 million people needing emergency food aid.
- Blocked roads and darkened airports preventing delivery of urgently needed food, water and medical supplies.
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