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Baby boom at Typhoon Haiyan field hospital

11 December 2013

The 100th baby has arrived at a Red Cross field hospital set up to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

Gwendolen was born on 1 December. Her mother Joanne, 25, gave birth in the Ormoc field hospital’s maternity tent while father Benito waited outside. They named their daughter after one of the hospital’s team.

The facility has already carried out 21 life-saving Caesarean sections, and delivered three sets of twins, since opening less than a month ago.

"The mothers are incredible"

Hanna Oommen, a midwife from the Norwegian Red Cross, said: “I’m continually surprised by the strength of the mothers. There are sometimes 10 mothers in the delivery tent – which is the size of one delivery room in Norway – labouring with no pain relief, and always smiling. They are incredible.”

The hospital’s first baby was named after the typhoon that has changed so many lives in the Philippines. Flora Entero, 25, gave birth to her daughter Fiona Haiyan by torchlight just before the hospital opened.

A few hours later, both moved in to its clean and comfortable maternity area. They were soon joined by seven other pairs of mothers and newborns, as the hospital’s team of midwives kicked into action.

The hospital was set up by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which has also handed out life-saving aid such as food, blankets and clean water, in the wake of the disaster.

Helping children cope

People working there include Red Cross staff from the Philippines and around the world, as well as local Red Cross volunteer nurses and psychosocial support volunteers who use drawing, games and other activities to help children cope with the trauma of the disaster.

Many of the medical staff’s homes were severely damaged or destroyed by the typhoon, but they come to work to help others every day, often working very long hours. Hanna said: “We are so pleased to be here to work together with them. Supporting them is a privilege.”

Related

Typhoon Haiyan news

As donations to help people stricken by Typhoon Haiyan pour in, Red Cross teams are on the ground helping.

A British Red Cross plan to rebuild homes, boost people’s health and incomes and repair schools in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan has been announced.

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