Team 6 moves into new territory: Tabango in Leyte, the area worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
“Her home had been flattened by the typhoon, but because she had nowhere to go, she still had to crawl into the home and stay there.”
Jeremy Chng, a member from City Harvest Church’s sixth medical disaster relief team to the Philippines related the story of a woman he met in Tabango, Leyte.
The team found the woman, a grandmother clutching her grandchild. Her only daughter had passed away, and she was left to take care of the orphan. Her resilience and hopeful attitude touched Chng: she kept thanking and smiling at Team 6 who had brought treatment and vitamins for her grandchild.
The grandmother was only one of many that Team 6 encountered in Tabango, Leyte, west of Tacloban, when they arrived on December 5 for a four-day mission trip.
Basing themselves in Tabango Municipal Hospital, the team helped to provide medical aid, supplies, food rations and temporary canvas shelters. The seven-man team, comprising of two doctors, a nurse and four volunteers served a total of 357 patients.
“I was part of the Team 1 to the Philippines, but the rest of Team 6 were new to the mission,” said Chng, who served as team leader. “We all have a heart for the people, and we want to play a part in helping them build up their lives again.”
Chng spoke with admiration about his teammates love and care for people. Over two days, the team managed to cover two-thirds of the people who had traveled to the hospital for treatment and consultation.
Team 6 was not only in Tabango for medical relief, but to recce and locate other places that had need. They were there to plan for future relief trips. Guided by locals that the Mayor tasked, together with their local contact, Pastor Edna, the team was faced with heart-wrenching scenes.
Homes, torn apart, demolished or simply non-existent, were all that was left of the town. Construction had begun in certain places, but for some of the poorer villages, construction and rebuilding efforts were immensely slow due to the inability of the locals to pay for building materials. In every village, 20 to 40 families would be left homeless.
This tragedy, though horrible, brought out the kindness and beauty of humanity. It drew the people of the villages closer, said Chng. “They still live their lives with happiness and joy; their kids play and laugh away, and even though they might have been strangers at first, they now seem to have a bond. Everyone takes care of each other,” said Chng.
Though the people of Tabango are still in need of shelter, food and clean water, they remain a cheerful and helpful group. The care shown by the disaster relief teams seems to have brought hope to them.
“I was very impressed by their heart, their calmness and dignity despite having faced this hardship.” said Chng. “They expressed the warmest love for all of us while we were there.”
There will be three more teams heading into the Philippines in 2014. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.