Typhoon Haiyan victims of Tacloban: An Update

Justice & Peace

We launched a large contingent of medical teams that went to towns near Tacloban city to bring healing to the people who have yet to fully rise from the rabbles of super typhoon Haiyan.

The group of 45 was divided into three teams composed of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, drivers and logistical support personnel. The group left Cebu City on April 25 in four-vehicle convoy on board Roro boat and landed in Baybay City (Leyte) the morning of the following day. After the common breakfast, the group split into teams and proceeded to their assigned towns. The teams covered eight areas of operation in all treating more than a thousand patients, young and old alike. The most common diseases were cough, colds and skin diseases for children and hypertension for adults. Hypertension cases were so numerous that we have to purchase additional medicine for the illness in nearby pharmacy. Ointment for skin diseases was also in great need but could only manage to buy some due to high price. The medical teams came back to Cebu in the morning of April 28, in good condition, despite remoteness of villages they have visited and simplicity of accommodation. The medicine for the medical mission was donated by a group of donors in Germany. Most of the volunteers came from the University of San Carlos, but the doctors, 14 of them, mostly came from Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.

We have kept the intensity of intervention for twin-calamity stricken areas of Central Visayas at high level. We have already breached three thousand temporary shelter provisions on top of other interventions like distribution of motorized boats for livelihood program, school building repairs, cash for work projects and medical missions. We are now in the process of validating villages for more housing projects and just today a team of brothers lead by Fr. Al Villasante, SVD left for Leyte for a two-week run of psycho-social interventions. Two weeks ago we have distributed a large volume of relief goods coming from Lubeck, Germany and Memphis, USA. The goods from Germany, facilitated by the Montevirgen cousins (Mario, Justin, Ronald, et. al.) composed of cereals, used clothing and canned goods were placed in three huge container vans shipped from Hamburg straight to Cebu City, courtesy of Schenker Shipping company. Justin and Ronald personally traveled from Germany to help in the distribution of goods. The goods from Memphis, USA was composed of 51 boxes of brand new blankets and other goods donated by Mercy Mission facilitated by Dr. Zalamea.

Financial aid, likewise also continues. We got information from Steyler Mission, Switzerland that they continue to receive donations for the relief operation. Steyler Mission, Austria also have expressed intention to provide more financial help. A Taiwan Filipino community just recently collected and remitted a good amount of donations through the facilitation of Fr. Yoy Yparaguirre, SVD. We were told that Fr. Bernard Espiritu, SVD of New Zealand is also organizing scholarship support to students of Liceo del Verbo Divino (LVD), an SVD school in Tacloban city.

Our next project is to bring the children back to school this coming June. We have provided them shelters and means of livelihood, now it's time to make sure the children does not terminate their educational endeavor. We all know that education is a lasting way of bringing them back to their feet. We have assessed that there are many children both elementary and high school, needless to mention college students who are unable or have lost interest to go back to school for lack of funds to buy school supplies and uniforms. We hope to sustain their interest to education by providing them school materials - school bags, pens, papers, notebooks, uniforms, shoes - and other needs. We have very little time to prepare for this project - for validation, canvass of prices and actual distribution. We appeal to your kind heart for this purpose. We try our best to be your good partner in this project. We will provide kind and compassionate face to the children in need in your stead.

In the meantime, we would like to reiterate our utmost gratitude to all of you for your donations, both in kind and cash. You are not personally known by our beneficiaries but rest assured, they are endlessly thankful just the same for sharing a part of your selves to them. May you all be abundantly blessed for your generosity of heart.

Fr. Eduardo Rocha, SVD Provincial Superior, SVD Philippines Southern Province