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IOM and Japan hand over cold chain and medical equipment in support of communities affected by Typhoon Odette in the Philippines

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23 November 2022 — The UN Migration Agency, International Organization for Migration (IOM), together with the Government of Japan, handed over three cold chain vehicles and other medical equipment to local health facilities in the Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, and Surigao del Norte, including Siargao Island. The handover ceremony was held today, marking a key milestone in IOM’s response to Typhoon Odette.

“Japan has always proven to be a close friend of the Philippines, particularly in times of adversity. As countries that experience various hardships due to climate calamities, our shared values bring us closer together and strengthen our overall cooperation” said Hon. Yoshihisa Ishikawa, the Consul General of Japan in Davao. The Government of Japan was one of the prominent countries that quickly provided emergency relief aid in response to Typhoon Odette – the strongest storm that hit the Philippines in 2021 and affected over 12 million people.

Japan contributed USD 13 million to the Typhoon Odette response, of which USD 4.2 million was provided to IOM. With this funding, IOM implemented a project that focused on delivering multi-sectoral assistance including Health and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). “In the aftermath of calamities, we could not emphasize more the value of having access to primary healthcare. It is even more needed because those affected are vulnerable to diseases and other ailments” continued Hon. Yoshihisa Ishikawa, emphasizing the Government of Japan’s commitment to achieving the “well-being of everyone”.

The three cold chain vehicles will be used to transport vaccines and temperature-sensitive medicine to geographically remote communities. In addition, six biomedical refrigerators have been provided to increase safe and efficient cold-chain management. The six portable diagnostic ultrasound machines will increase patients’ access to more enhanced obstetrics and gynecology care and contribute to restoring the crucial functions of health facilities and increase access to primary healthcare for communities impacted by Typhoon Odette. To date, IOM has supported 13 health facilities and over 140 affected communities with this medical equipment and emergency health kits.

“There remains a strong need for converged and continued efforts to support the Typhoon affected and disaster-prone communities” said Tristan A. Burnett, IOM Chief of Mission in the Philippines. Almost a year after Typhoon Odette, around 1,000 individuals are still displaced. Furthermore, the Philippines is at the top of the 2022 World Disaster Risk Index, which highlights the country’s high disaster exposure and vulnerability. “It is crucial to identify and promote viable approaches to facilitate durable solutions to internal displacement and the typhoon-affected populations across the country including sustainable reintegration, local integration, and relocation or resettlement” continued Burnett.

The event was attended by key local government stakeholders and health officials who expressed their gratitude to the Government of Japan and IOM. Hon. Nilo P. Demerey Jr., the Governor of the Province of the Dinagat Islands, shared his message of appreciation, emphasizing that cold chain equipment will particularly help improve their COVID-19 testing services provision. Dr. Ernesto E. Pareja, Chief of Local Health Support Division for the Department of Health Caraga Region, further committed to “remain true to our mission of providing better health services to all communities by connecting our bridges with our partners.”

For more information, please contact: Tristan A. Burnett, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission at [email protected]

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