Disaster Relief and the Importance of Vaccines: A Look into Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan
On November 8, 2013, the central region of the Philippines was hit with what is infamously known as Typhoon Haiyan. This occurred not long after a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that shook Bohol, an island located southwest of the areas greatly affected by the typhoon. Estimates show the loss of lives to be in the thousands with millions of people having to find new places to call home.
It is a tragic event that has changed the lives of so many and will continue to affect people for years to come. All hope is not lost however; the international community is banding together to provide humanitarian aid. In the months following this disaster, organizations and individuals have been contributing to the relief efforts. UN’s OCHA is just one of the organizations working to help the Philippines, and a look at their funding shows what they’ve accomplished and what they continue to work towards. In time, hopefully the efforts will be felt by all.
Various public and private organizations are working to administer vaccinations, especially for polio and measles. While polio has been eradicated in the U.S., it still persists in the Philippines and it, along with measles, is spread through close contact. The typhoon has left many homeless, forced to live in unsanitary crowded quarters, where their susceptibility to the diseases is increased.
Both diseases are preventable through vaccinations but in order to provide for individuals, especially children who are at highest risk, supplies need to be distributed and maintained. Accessibility to some areas are limited, making it all the more important to properly preserve the supplies they do receive.
Vaccination, especially amongst children, is a long-term form of aid. It takes time to rebuild a home, a town, a country – but once a patient is vaccinated, they are protected and even if they still have to brave difficult conditions, they can do so without fear of contracting an otherwise dangerous disease. Organizations work together to transport and administer these vital vaccinations. Individuals can also contribute through donations and by volunteering. Together, we can work to improve the lives of others, one patient’s health at a time.
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