Flora delivered her first child in the middle of the night – with the help of a doctor holding a flashlight – hours before the field hospital opened its doors.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Flora named her daughter Fiona Haiyan, after the typhoon that ravaged her town. Now two days old, Fiona Haiyan is the picture of health, and her mother couldn’t have been happier to move into the Red Cross field hospital’s clean and comfortable maternity ward hours after giving birth.

Before the new Red Cross field hospital was set up in Ormoc, new mothers like Flora were forced to recover on hard metal benches in the hospital’s lobby and hallways, surrounded by all of the other patients and their families. This made it difficult for the women to recover physically, and they lacked the space and privacy to bond with their newborns and establish critical practices like breastfeeding.

After Flora gave birth to Fiona Haiyan she was able to move into the post-delivery ward, where she was soon joined by several other mothers and newborns, as the field hospital’s team of midwives kicked into action.

One of them was Phoebe Nuez, 21, pictured above with husband Mark, and newborn son Mark Nathan. Her baby was the 21st to be born in the delivery tent of the Red Cross field hospital in Ormoc.

The Red Cross field hospital is supporting the Ormoc district hospital – the only public facility for a city of 190,000 people. The hospital was heavily damaged by Typhoon Haiyan, leaving its team of doctors with no operating theatre, no patient wards, and no lights to help them care for patients at night.

It was erected in just 48 hours, and is now a critical part of the hospital system, serving vulnerable communities across the city.

New Zealand Red Cross has been doing its bit to help with the typhoon response by sending three IT and telecommunications aid workers to the Philippines. They’re helping set up vital radio and internet links in Red Cross operations centres, health clinics, and vehicles in Cebu, Tacloban and surrounds.

Mike Carson of Wanganui, Thomas McNally from Auckland and Ewan Coldicott from Wellington are working with a multinational team – based in an old Energiser battery warehouse, that had been abandoned for more than five years.

They say they’re pleased to be able to make a difference to the devastated communities hit by Typhoon Haiyan.

“I went on a visit to a couple of sites south of Tacloban,” says Thomas. There are health and water and sanitation teams based down there and it’s as bad as it looks on the television, for at least 30km down the coast. We couldn’t go any further because they were clearing debris from under a bridge. So thank you to all of you who have donated money to the appeal.”

The New Zealand Red Cross appeal for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan has so far raised NZD$1.5 million. The IFRC and ICRC are trying to raise 87 million Swiss francs (NZD $117 million) to help those affected.

So far 5600 deaths have been reported and almost 4 million people have been displaced from their homes. An estimated 11 million people have been affected by the typhoon – the biggest in recorded history.