Mental Health

Philippines: Reaching remote villages devastated by Typhoon Tembin

After Typhoon Tembin (locally known as Vinta) smashed into the Philippines, Mindanao region in late December, MSF supported hundreds of families in Mindanao’s Lanao Del Norte province.

Most of the casualties were in Lanao del Norte. Other areas that suffered heavy flooding and damage include Cagayan de Oro, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur.

According to Philippines government estimates, more than 200 people died in flash floods and mudslides, with much more reported missing. Around 790,000 were affected by the tropical storm and its lasting aftermath.

“Most of the hardest-hit areas were difficult to reach due to distance and access issues”, says Dr Hana Badando, MSF project coordinator.

We were typically travelling four to five hours, often by motorbike or foot because of badly damaged bridges and roads.

MSF distributed non-food items such as water and hygiene kits to around 900 families in six barangays within three municipalities.

Mental health experts also delivered grief counselling sessions to those who have lost loved ones.

“My grandmother drowned. She was sleeping at that time and was not able to flee. I still have injuries from the logs that hit me. I swam and brought seven children back to safety,” explained Saddam, a resident of Pansur village, in Lanao Del Norte. “I had to save them even if I died doing so.”

An MSF team is based in Mindanao, supporting people displaced by the conflict that opposed pro- Islamic State group fighters and the Philippines army earlier this year.

Find out more about MSF's work in the Philippines.