Successful end to the medical emergency help on the Philippines

by Jasmin Eigemann,  2014/07/08

It is the end of a positive cooperation: After in November 2013, typhoon “Haiyan” had raged on the Philippines, the humedica team reached the city Tacloban and thus the center of the catastrophe as the first medical help organization. By taking over the “Mother of Mercy” hospital, a deep commitment developed, by which a fast and comprehensive help for the many victims of the enormous storm was made possible.

But let’s get back to the beginning. In the evening of November 7th, 2013 the lives of millions of Philippians has changed fundamentally. The typhoon “Haiyan”, which had already been announced in superlatives, hit land for the first time. The storm, which is known as “Yolanda” on the Philippines, particularly devastated the group of islands Visaya in the center of the Philippines, with squalls which reached records of up to 315 kilometers per hour.

Shortly after the catastrophe had become known, humedica sent a field team into the crisis region and, as the first international help organization, started medical care of the people in the province capital Tacloban, which had been destroyed by 80 percent. Two other teams followed within few days.

The destructions have been disastrous: The city consisted only of debris in which an uncountable number of people had lost their lives. Decay scent lay in the hot and humid tropical air for weeks.

Hundreds of thousands of homeless people had neither food nor water. Continuous rainfall even increased the danger of infections. Frequent disease patterns, caused by the humidity, were infected, fouling wounds, respiratory infections and skin eczemas, under which especially immunodeficient babies and small children suffered most. Malnutrition was another big problem.

After one week, humedica could take over the nearly intact “Mother of Mercy” hospital. “A real blessing”, as humedica managing director, Wolfgang Groß put it. Thanks to this improved treatment possibilities, the team of 21 could split and reach the surrounding villages, which hadn’t had any help up to then, with mobile clinics.

For all field staff members, the Philippians’ hospitality and deep thankfulness, which they had not lost despite their despair, had been an extraordinary motivation.

Delusive everyday life

After some weeks, a kind of everyday life had come back to the persons affected. The wounded had been treated, the supply of food and water was stable and even the electricity worked again partly. The heaps of debris became smaller and in the city center the first banks, shops and the very popular karaoke bars had reopened.

But at a close look, the seeming normality disappears. Many Philippians are still suffering from their traumatic experiences, as they have not only lost all their belongings, but sometimes also members of their families. Children cannot go to school, there is still hardly any work. The people live with relatives, in tents or in newly built wooden huts.

humedica has regularly sent medical teams to care for the needy, supported the repairing of the “Mother of Mercy” hospital, taken over staff costs and sent aid supplies.

20,000 patients treated

After eight months, 70 field staff members and more than 20,000 patients treated, the last medical humedica team has been said good-bye to during a great party in the “Mother of Mercy” hospital.

All the hospital staff and even the Sisters of Mercy nuns had been learning dances for nights on end, which they presented on the party in the context of a big competition. Most beautiful costumes had been tailored and colorful decorations had been handmade and painted very nicely. “Everybody had been involved with great enthusiasm and so much effort, in order to bring their culture to us helpers and to give us a beautiful evening”, reports humedica coordinator Alexandra Vlantos.

Thus, also the German team didn’t need to be told twice to present something typically German. In default of dirndls and lederhosen, they performed a parody of Drafi Deutscher’s “Marmor Stein und Eisen” in German, English and the local language Waray.

“It was a great party with thoughtful moments”, Alexandra Vlantos reports, moved. “For us humedicans it has been quite overwhelming. So we have only been the representatives who accepted the thanks on behalf of all the field staff members who had been here.”

Sponsorships for a better future

Of course, humedica won’t leave the Philippines completely. As it has already been successfully established in Brazil or Ethiopia, in the context of a sponsorship project, 250 particularly hard hit families are going to be supported sustainably and depending on their individual needs.

In cooperation with the local partner organization PHILRADS is being realized for the beneficiaries with the aim of financial independence. Moreover, humedica is planning the reconstruction of schools, in order to assure the education of school age children.

At the start of the family sponsorships, we are hoping for your support! Accompany a Philippian family on their way back to independence! Any contribution counts and thus, we want to cordially invite you to take over a sponsorship! Thank you very much!

We are also grateful for concrete donations:

      humedica e.V.
      keyword: family sponsorship
      account nb. 47 47
      bank code 734 500 00
      bank Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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