About a month after Super Typhoon Haiyan tore through six Philippine islands and its tsunami-like storm surge plowed through Tacloban and other coastal areas, the death toll tops 6,000 and 1,800 people are still missing according to figures released on December 16, 2013. More than 12 million people have been affected by the typhoon that left behind catastrophic destruction and despair when it made landfall on November 8, leaving entire communities without immediate access to food and medical care.
Headwaters Relief Organization recently sent a group of volunteers to the Philippines to perform desperately needed relief work in the aftermath of the typhoon. Members of the group traveled to several remote villages in the Tacloban area, often visiting two or more areas a day, working alongside the doctors and nurses who triaged many of the sick and injured victims. Headwaters Relief volunteers provided much needed psychological relief including smiles, play and laughter to the children while they waited in long, hot lines for medical relief.
Headwaters Relief volunteers also sought out individuals who did not need medical relief but were victims of the storm in other ways. In several of the villages, volunteers discussed experiences with small groups of people and individuals. Sharing stories was not only helpful for the victims, but served as educational opportunities for others. A result was that many of the strategies and coping mechanisms offered by Headwaters Relief volunteers will be passed along to more of those affected.
While working in the city of Tacloban, Headwaters volunteers were thrilled to have the opportunity to interact with Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiáo. Pacquiáo was present at an event for children in Tacloban and has been highly visible in relief efforts throughout the area. He also dedicated a recent comeback victory to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and is considered a national hero among most Filipinos.
According to international aid organization GR3, there are still entire communities without immediate access to food and medical care, and each day health clinics are still seeing in excess of 500 patients. These communities are extremely dependent on international aid. We ask for your donations to help us fund more trips to the Philippines, where help is still so desperately needed. You can donate to this effort here
You can see more photos from our trip to the Philippines here