MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) has ordered the sending of more medicines and other medical supplies to Mindanao regions hit by Tropical Storm Vinta.

In a news release issued Tuesday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III expressed sympathy over the “tragic event” at a time “when families should be celebrating Christmas and preparing for the festivities of the New Year”.

According to the DOH, “Vinta” has affected a total of 70,454 families, or 320,180 individuals, in 569 barangays in Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Central Mindanao, Davao region, Autonomous Regiion in Muslim Mindanao, and Caraga. The municipality of Carmen in Davao del Norte has also been put under a state of calamity.

Duque said the department is still on alert and has directed regional offices to deploy emergency response teams to provide health services to the affected population, and continue coordinating with the respective Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils.

Meanwhile, the health chief reported that DOH-Davao has sent emergency medical teams to Talomo North district, Marilog district, Bunangin district and District A, while DOH-Central Visayas has provided technical services on water sanitation, hygiene and nutrition.

DOH-Central Mindanao, he said, sent assorted medicines to the rural health units of Pantao Ragat and Balo-1 for those displaced by the storm in and outside evacuation centers; gave leptospirosis prophylaxis to exposed individuals; and taught the people about the proper use of water treatment solutions. (DOH/Photo courtesy of Charina Dejino/ FB)