Help is still desperately needed

by Dr. Michael Hahn/ RBU, 2009/10/16

After having taken part in an aid mission to the Philippines for two weeks, Dr. Hahn and Saskia Hankel, a student of medicine, have now returned to Germany. Much too early - says the doctor – since help is still desperately needed in the area hit by the disaster.

All in all, he is happy to be back in Germany, says Dr. Hahn, after 14 days on the Philippines. Still, it is also with a bit of regret that he came back, since he has bandaged many wounds and given new hope to many people. Nonetheless, people are still in great need on the Philippines, as he reports:

"The water hasn’t gone down at all", reports Dr. Hahn. Photo: humedica

One week later than predicted, typhoon Parma turned, with disastrous consequences: it claimed the lives of 300 people and left an estimated hundreds of thousands homeless. The large amounts of water in the area we work in haven’t gone down at all. Instead, the water mixes with dirt, excrement and, meanwhile, also bacteria.

In order to be able to advance further into the flooded region, we need the help of the military and their trucks. Truck rides that last hours often end in adventurous “raft rides” in higher-situated schools or town halls.

Along with his colleagues of the humedica-team, Dr. Hahn had treated skin injuries with “horrible secondary infections and abscesses about the size of a mandarin, fresh and secondary healing cut wounds“. The doctor had treated about 50 people in a day, the whole team had attended to up to 200 patients in only four hours.

The military helps wherever they can. Photo: humedica/ Christian Scholber

The success of the aid mission is certainly also due to the good cooperation with our partner organization, Scandinavian Children’s Mission, as well as the local medical and military staff, says Doc Hahn, as he is called. The Germans had been “provided with excellent accommodation and supported greatly by local skilled personnel like Philippine doctors, nurses and social workers.”

According to Doc Hahn, being aided by the military is something you have to get used to first since the soldiers are always carrying their guns (or “shooting cudgels”, as he calls them) with them, but apart from that, they are of great help to everyone on site. “They helped with everything: statistics, translation, transports, and even the supply of my beloved rice,” reports Doc Hahn.

We are glad that Doc Hahn has returned safely to Germany and would like to thank him very much for his commitment.

Fortunately, many children are still able to smile. Photo: humedica/ Christian Scholber.

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