FilAm nurses return to the U.S. after medical mission in the Philippines

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 25, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO IN’TL AIRPORT – On Friday night, two San Francisco Bay Area-based Filipino nurses returned to the U.S. after spending a week in the most devastated areas in the Philippines. The two were part of a disaster relief mission, deployed by the National Nurses United’s Registered Nurse Response Network. The team provided medical support in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda.

Nurse Michelle Vo described what she saw there as “apocalyptic.” She said, “We tried to concentrate on devastated areas that are not publicized. Tacloban City is only a little piece of the devastation.”

“When we visited the devastated areas, it was surreal for us. But we just had to be strong because we had a mission to do,” added Joseph Catindig, another nurse.

During their deployment to devastated areas in the islands of Panay and Negros. There, they met with disaster relief organizations, government officials and health care groups to provide hands-on care.

“People were bringing in their children with fever, cough, pneumonia, malnutrition and dehydration. And the parents were just as sick, if not more,” Vo pointed out.

More than short-term help, Catindig said there should also be long-term solutions. He stated, “They need help rebuilding their lives. They need help rebuilding their homes.”

The second batch of nurses will be deployed next week, and will conduct mobile clinics expected to provide vaccinations, wound care and other basic medical care to the survivors of Yolanda.

“For us, the nurses are our heroes because they have paved the way for future deployment,” Zenei Cortez, co-president of the California Nurses Association said.

To date, close to 3,000 nurse from all 50 states and 19 sations have volunteered to assist with the relief project for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. These nurses said their primary duty is to give care. And they know, more than ever, their care is needed there.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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