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Shield From The Storm

We walked via the debris discipline that was the coastal town of Hernani, in the Philippines, surveying the catastrophic injury wrought by Typhoon Haiyan — Yolanda as Filipinos name it. This was not only a typhoon of document proportions; it was a tsunami, annihilating the whole lot in its path.

There seemed a tragically simple calculus to the storm’s fury: houses product of bamboo have been fully flattened, their flimsy tin roofs splayed on prime of the fallen timber; concrete buildings fared marginally better, walls nonetheless standing, however home windows and doors completely blown out by the 195 mph winds.

Passing by a brilliant yellow, however badly broken structure that read “Pedro E. Candido Memorial Library”, we noticed four teenagers sitting on a stone wall, horsing around, laughing.

I referred to as out to considered one of them, a beautiful woman with corn rows piled high on her head: “Hey. How are you Are you alright “

She replied: “Yes, I’m completely satisfied!”

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“Completely happy Actually ” I requested, incredulous given the devastation that surrounded her.

“Positive. I am alive. My household’s alive.”
In village after village, island after island, the same scene played out — people with sunny, smiling faces expressing happiness that they’d survived, and profound gratitude to us for bringing the primary medical relief these areas had acquired. This resilience was exceptional, and shocking in the aftermath of such an epic storm. The place does this resilience come from

Like stone island jassen sale so many other villages, Hernani, a tight-knit community of about eight,000 in eastern Samar, suffered mightily within the typhoon. Along with the widespread damage, 57 people perished and more than 500 were injured. Livelihoods, primarily fishing, were wiped out, as hundreds of boats had been destroyed. Clear water, sanitation and food are all scarce.

It was not simple for us to succeed in Hernani. Road entry was completely lower off. The one way we could get there was by Navy helicopter from an airfield in nearby Guiuan. After we touched down, lots of of individuals swarmed us, eager to carry our medical provides from the beachfront up a hill to a damaged municipal building next to the destroyed hospital.

Our International Medical Corps team, including long-time volunteer physician from the U.S.Rob Fuller, and four Filipino doctors and nurses, rapidly set up and inside 10 minutes had been treating the long line of patients — elderly folks with wounds from flying debris, children with upper respiratory infections and pores and skin infections from the unhygienic circumstances.

Within the short-term, through our cell clinics, we have continued bringing medical relief to remote, laborious-to-reach communities that may otherwise be missed. However the mayor of Hernani expressed a fear that we all have in the long-term: “I am frightened folks will begin to go hungry. Folks cannot fish. We don’t have any coconuts and bananas. I am also frightened the children will get diarrhea because there is not any clean water and no working toilets. We can rebuild, however we need assistance.”

The recovery from this catastrophe will be extremely difficult. Water and sanitation systems, well being care, and livelihoods have all been decimated. However this country was lucky in that the population is extremely educated and it had a relatively strong infrastructure and catastrophe response capacity before the typhoon hit. Communities here came together, neighbors offered each other shelter, individuals felt an obligation to raise those next to them who is perhaps extra weak.

Having witnessed first-hand communities ripped apart by natural disaster and battle — from Syria, to Haiti, to the Congo — the resilience I’ve seen in the Philippines proves to be a powerful shield against any storm.

Back in Guiuan, the place the typhoon first made landfall, and where greater than a hundred and ten individuals died, Dr. Flores of the municipal hospital advised me the story of a woman who gave start, and three hours later, as the storm hit, took her baby into her arms and ran. That woman and her child survived, dwelling in an ambulance for four days before finding extra permanent shelter with neighbors.

“This has been very exhausting for us,” said Dr. Flores. “We thought we’d never see the sun again. But we survived and we need to get back to work.