When typhoon Sendong with a storm signal No. 2 struck Cagayan de Oro City like lightning in the evening of December 16 and 17, 2011, a great devastation so frightening in dimension, misery and economic hardships fell on many residents of the city. Severely flooded barangays along the stretch of the city’s main river bank bore the brunt of destruction unsurpassed ever in the history of the city.
With the onset of the widespread devastation in affected barangays, hardships due to environmental and economic displacement, misery and trauma from loss or separation from loved ones, friends, neighbors, destruction took its tool on the health of hundreds of affected families. Typhoon Sendong did not only wrought destruction to properties of residents, business institutions, private agencies and the local government alike, but it also summarily disturbed the peaceful lives residents used to lived and the peace of mind of every Kagay-anons who were directly affected by the flood or just bore witnessed of the tragedy.
At the start of the calamity’s aftermath, City Health Office among other government offices became one of the many offices serving the public whose primary responsibility is to promote the general health and well being of the people was pushed to the forefront of relief and rehabilitation work for the thousands of flood survivors of Cagayan de Oro City.
With great care and sensitivity, the City Health Office headed by City Health Officer Dr. Jerie Calingasan was up to its feet as it responded to the pressing health needs of affected families in evacuation centers and later on, in the relocation site of Calaanan- the “Tent City” where 364 families have already been provided temporary shelter at present time. The City Health Office provided its relief and rehabilitation services to as many survivors as it can. For one, it facilitated the deployment of medical teams of doctors and nurses in evacuation centers and in the “Tent City“. Through the medical teams proper diagnosis, urgent treatment and prevention of diseases ,illness and injury of survivors were attended to as needed.
The maintenance of proper sanitation in over populated evacuation centers and relocation site of Calaanan through orientation and actual practice of proper garbage disposal was vital. City Health Office ensured that people were taught in evacuation centers the basics of waste segregation. At the start of its relief operations, evacuation centers with inadequate or without comfort rooms were identified by the City Health Office and thus, recommended the use of portalets in these areas.
Providing the day-to-day steady supply of safe and clean potable water to evacuation centers and “Tent City” came pouring in as support from several generous multi–national corporation donors like Del Monte Philippines, Nestle Corporation and Philippine Center Corporation among others, was also overseen by City Health Office. To prevent an eventual spread of bacteria in flooded communities, anti-bacterial medicines were distributed house to house in many barangays to ensure control of the dreaded leptospirosis.
As part of its collaborative work with other departments, it regularly submits update report to the Department of Health (DOH) on the state of health of thousands of survivors. At present, in the midst of great wanting , City Health Office continue to do its share of responsibility in promoting the general health and well-being of survivors once stricken by the tragedy, but now hopeful and ready to rise up once again to rebuild their lives.