'Yolanda' a Category 3 Disaster - WHO

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 MANILA - The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the devastation caused by super typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines as a Category 3 disaster, the highest level.

Recent similar Category 3 disasters include the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

"The scale [of the typhoon's damage] is huge," the WHO's Dr. Richard Brennan told the US-based National Public Radio on Tuesday. "It's monumental. This is one of the biggest emergencies we've dealt with in some time."

The WHO, in a press statement Tuesday, said field hospitals, medical personnel, medicines and other medical supplies are arriving in the Philippines as countries and nongovernmental organizations around the world respond to the disaster.

"In support of the Government of the Philippines, WHO is coordinating all health-related aspects of the emergency response to ensure the supplies are moved quickly to where health facilities and supplies are most damaged, such as Tacloban, Cebu and the west coast of Leyte," the organization said.

The WHO said field hospitals with medical teams from Belgium, Israel, Norway and Japan are currently in the Visayas, and more teams from Australia and Germany are coming.

"In addition to responding to injuries and trauma, health needs will also need to be met in very challenging circumstances," the WHO said.

It added that an estimated 12,000 babies will be born this month in typhoon-affected areas.

"People with noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes or heart disease will need to continue receiving their regular medication," it said. Read more here.