PQMD Members Respond to Disasters in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Australia

PQMD Members Respond to Devastation of Typhoon Phanfone and Assess Impact of Taal Volcano in the Philippines

On Sunday, January 12, the Taal Volcano—located in the Calabarzon region of the Philippines, about 40 miles from Manila—began erupting. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) issued a Level 4 alert, meaning that a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days. Moreover, in the span of only eight hours during the morning of January 14 alone, there were 49 volcanic earthquakes in the region. More than 900,000 people reside in the area of concern.

Villagers looking at Taal Volcano erupting on January 13th (Source: NPR).

This comes on the heels of the devastation of Typhoon Phanfone, which made landfall in the Philippines on December 24, affecting more than 3.2 million people and causing at least 57 deaths. The Christmas storm only exacerbated needs that existed before it hit the island nation—more people now need access to health support, safe water, hygiene, relief supplies, and livelihoods training and resources than ever before.

PQMD members are responding. International Medical Corps is collaborating with local stakeholders to address the most urgent needs of people affected by the storm, including health; water, sanitation and hygiene; mental health; and other concerns. MAP International has sent a large shipment with medical supplies, water, 95 masks and hygiene kits. Some members, such as AstraZeneca, have donated medicines to support Typhoon relief efforts. Other PQMD organizations are assessing the situation with the volcano and will make decisions as the impact of the volcano unfolds.

PQMD Members Respond to Earthquake in Puerto Rico

Following a series of earthquakes, a 6.4 earthquake struck off the coast of Puerto Rico Tuesday, January 7th at 4:24am local time. This was the strongest earthquake to hit Puerto Rico since 1918. One death was reported and many dwellings were damaged. Power was preemptively shut off across the island for safety purposes. Many people were forced to find shelter and stay outside as they feared being inside if another earthquake hit, resulting in hygiene related needs. There are also many needs related to public health infrastructure and mental health.

Cracks appeared on a damaged building in Yauco, Puerto Rico, following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Tuesday morning on Jan. 7, 2019 (Source: nbcnewyork.com)

PQMD members are responding with a total of $325,000 in cash donations ($25,000 from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co to Direct Relief, $100,000 from Amgen to International Medical Corps, and $200,000 from AbbVie to Feeding America and Direct Relief). Many organizations are also implementing an employee match program. Direct relief has donated $1.5 million in medical supplies, lights and chargers and 2 generators. Heart to Heart has donated hygiene kits. MAP International has also donated 3000 hygiene kits, 600 water filters and 1 million masks. Project Hope has donated 2000 hygiene kits and 300 cold chain packs. World Vision has a tractor trailer load of supplies already pre-positioned in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Americares has been addressing the psychosocial needs in the area.

Many of the PQMD members have been active on the ground since Hurricane Maria making the emergency response quicker and more seamless.

PQMD Members Respond to Wildfires in Australia

Due to a prolonged drought and higher temperatures, the worst wildfires in decades have scorched over 17.9 million acres in Australia. As of now, there are 27 deaths and 2600 homes destroyed. The most damaging fires are affecting New South Wales and Victoria. Fires may continue to burn for 3-5 months.
Air quality is a public health concern as it continues to deteriorate. The fires have forced people to live in shelters and have caused power outages.

A firefighter in the New South Wales town of Jerrangwangala on January 1, 2020 (Source: CNN).

PQMD members have responded to this crisis with generous cash donations. A total of $1,070,000 has been donated from AbbVie ($150,000 to Red Cross and Direct Relief), Amgen ($100,000 to Australian Red Cross), AstraZeneca ($200,000 to local relief efforts), Baxter Healthcare Corp. ($100,000 to Red Cross), Bristol- Myers Squibb Co. ($50,000 to Australian Red Cross), GlaxoSmithKline ($170,000 to Red Cross and Wildlife Foundation), Henry Schein Inc. ($50,000 to response efforts), Pfizer ($100,000 to Direct Relief), and Sanofi US ($150,000 to Australian Red Cross). Additionally, a number of organizations are also implementing matching gift programs. Direct Relief has donated over 1 million masks.

PQMD is grateful to its members for their response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Australia.

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