10 and 100 days after the catastrophe

The people’s living circumstances in the spotlight

by Sabine Kirchner, MZE,  2014/07/02

Sabine Kirchner, an experienced medical active of the international help organization humedica has already cared for refugees in Lebanon and in Uganda. When in November 2013, typhoon “Hayan” destroyed the Philippines, she volunteered again. About 100 days later, she went back there and offered medical help for several weeks again.

Her impressions immediately after the typhoon and those a couple of months later differ enormously and thus create a concrete picture of the situation on-site and of the catastrophe aid by humedica.

After 10 days: “It is already well after midnight, when a US Airforce plane brings us to Tacloban, together with a load of aid supplies. In the dawn, we are looking about. So this was the airport of Tacloban until some days ago, what is left are only debris and ruins.”

After 100 days:“It is Tuesday morning, when our Philippine Airlines plane lands in Tacloban with bright sunshine. The airport area and buildings are hardly recognizable”.

After 10 days: "The people’s faces are numbed, many of them are carrying sleeping or crying children on their arms. All have only one aim: Away from here, as fast as possible.”

After 100 days: “Everywhere in town there is pulsating life with lively traffic on cleared streets, Stop and Go during the rush hour, like in any German city.”

After 10 days: “Enormous heaps of debris pile up at the roadside. A firefighter’s brigade is looking for survivors in stinking rubbish heaps. We hardly meet any other vehicles, because there hasn’t been any gasoline any more on the island for days. From time to time we meet a bike. A strange kind of silence hovers over the city.”

After 100 days: “On our way to work, we see many children in school uniforms. All children go to school again.”

After 10 days: “So shortly after the typhoon, the people need drinking water before all; medical help is of secondary importance for the moment. There is a great demand for our water disinfection tablets. Only the washing machine cannot be put into operation any more. The Philippian employees are sitting behind the hospital and are assiduously scrubbing all the hospital clothes by hand.”

After 100 days: “Everyone has got clean drinking water. The “Mother of Mercy”-hospital has even got a new washing machine.”

After 10 days: “Today, exactly one week after the typhoon, our coordinators happily announce that humedica can take over the “Mother of Mercy”-hospital. The left wing of the hospital is partly destroyed, the ground floor is flooded. Iin the hospital there is a kind of eerie silence, too.”

After 100 days: “There is a happy reunion with the nurses in the “Mother of Mercy”-hospital. Thanks to our Charity ward we are able to treat seriously ill poor people immediately and keep them there overnight. All beds are always taken. As soon as someone has checked out, the next patient who needs to be taken in urgently is already waiting.”

After 10 days: “In a destroyed school we find shelter and a place to treat injured people. Immediately the people start queuing up. Everyone is hoping for help. We work until dusk. Hundreds of patients, hundreds of fates. It is late, dark and we are very tired. We must stop. Unfortunately, many people must be sent away now.”

After 100 days: “With our mobile clinics we also visit many people in the extreme north of the island Leyte. Since the typhoon we have still been the only medical team in this region.”

After 10 days: “Everywhere people are cleaning up assiduously. Many people rebuild their destroyed houses. On some people’s faces I see the famous Asian smile which I had missed during the last days.”

After 100 days: “Wherever we have been, everywhere we have encountered the Philippians’ great heartiness and thankfulness. It is just amazing to see their enthusiasm and confidence with which they rebuild assiduously their completely destroyed country.”

Thank you very much, dear Sabine, for your generous action for people in need and this insight into the Philippian people’s situation. We hope to work with you in another medical team soon again. Thank you very much!

Do you also have a medical job and are you interested in acting for people in need? Find out about our training before on-site operation and become part of the humedica team!

Some wounds have been healed already after typhoon “Hayan”, reconstruction has started. Especially the family sponsorships contribute effectively to supporting families reasonably on their way back to independence. Take over a family sponsorship or help the Philippian families through a directed donation.

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

Stories which move – 10 days after typhoon “Hayan”
“Many people are distressed. One woman is strongly blaming herself. She tells me that, in the night of the flood, she had climbed on a roof together with her husband and their five children. In doing so, their youngest three-year old child wrenched itself from her hand and drowned in the floods. How can four hands hold five children dithering anxiously? Children who don’t understand that they must be sheltered from the floods?” (Sabine Kirchner)

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