When super typhoon ‘Haiyan’ hit the Visayan provinces of the Philippines, the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Armed Forces were two of the first teams who responded in aid of the Filipinos within a week.
Philippine Canadian Inquirer’s Melissa Remulla-Briones had the chance to interview representatives of the Canadian Red Cross and Armed Forces about their efforts in helping out the thousands of Filipinos who are now recovering in the aftermath of ‘Haiyan.’
Canadians all over chipped in and made donations in kind and in cash for disaster relief in the Philippines. A Red Cross representative explained how these donations were handled.
According to the representative, “Those contributions have been made into Canadian Red Cross, and those in turn have been put into a restricted fund for direct aid to the people affected by typhoon ‘Haiyan.’ At last count, they were at CAD $42.6 million.”
Dr. Brad Eason, the Task Force Surgeon and Commander of the Canadian Armed Forces, also shared his experience in the Philippines.
“By the time we landed and started operating in Panay Island, what we saw was primarily roads that were blocked, trees down, power lines down, houses that were completely leveled,” he recalled.
“On medical needs, by the time we arrived probably a week after the typhoon, it was minor wounds, infections related to skin conditions, gastrointestinal illnesses related to unclean water, not enough food… We did not see trauma,” Eason pointed out.
Eason worked with a very eager team.
“My team was very excited to be there, highly motivated to give and provide assistance. They all felt quite privileged to have the opportunity to come to the Philippines and help the people,” he said.
When asked about Canada’s preparedness if something like that were to happen, Eason responded, “Not only do we have a lot of military assets that can help. I think there’s a lot of disaster management that happens at national and provincial levels as well that’s well-prepared for this kind of event to take place.”
Interview conducted by Melissa Remulla-Briones; transcribed by Ching Dee