International medical teams aid Haiyan victims


TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines - With typhoon Haiyan washing off medicines and damaging hospitals, much-needed medical aid from overseas is in Tacloban to tend the wounded.

Bea Cupin reports.

Different flags, countries, cultures. International aid continues to pour into central Philippines.

The Japanese too have returned — they were once kicked out of Leyte in World War II by the forces of US General Douglas MacArthur. They are back— this time to provide medical aid. But language barriers can sometimes be an obstacle. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency has an ace up its sleeve - Filipino-speaking deputy team leader Shigehiro Matsuda.

SHIGEHIRO MATSUDA, JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY: Malakas kasi ang relasyon ng Hapon at Pilipinas siguro wala kaming choice na hindi pupunta, hindi tumulong sa kaibigang Filipino. (Japan and the Philippine have strong relations. We can't not help our Filipino friends.)

With Shigehiro and other translators, the Japanese go around Tacloban and towns devastated by Yolanda.

SHIGEHIRO MATSUDA, JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY: Ilang beses akong nakapunta sa Tacloban City kaya syempre alam ko kung gaano yung lugar na ito kaya talagang malungkot ako noong makita ko ang kalagayan. (I've been to Tacloban before so I know what it looks like. That's why I was really saddened to see it after Yolanda.)

For a team of firemen from France, giving aid is a little more difficult. Some don't speak English. The firemen team up with another group from France, Doctors Without Borders.

DR. BENARD CHRISTOPHE, FRENCH FIREMAN: We saw that there was the MSF (Doctors Without Borders) which is French, so the language is more... and they're just inside to do the hospital.

Doctors Without Borders will construct an inflatable hospital within the week to fill the vacuum left behind by the now paralyzed Bethany Hospital.

The foreigners aren't just from Europe and America, Turkey - a nation at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, also has nationals here. Ismail Buyukay and his team rushed to Tacloban right after they heard about Yolanda.

ISMAIL BUYUKAY, KIMSE YOK MU COORDINATOR: We have seen earthquakes and other disasters so when we came here and saw how it was, we were shocked.

An NGO from Turkey will send 300 tents to Tacloban. Twelve doctors are also on their way here.

ISMAIL BUYUKAY , KIMSE YOK MU DISASTER COORDINATOR: However, it is a far country from Turkey but whenever disaster strikes, we would like to help those people.

The foreigners say they've been to many disasters around the globe. But they all react the same way to Tacloban: shock.

Shigehiro studied in UP Diliman for 2 years. He says he's amazed to see the Filipino spirit is so resilient.

SHIGEHIRO MATSUDA, JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY: May mga ngiti sa mukha nila, so medyo relieved na ako. (They're still smiling so I'm slightly relieved.)

Bea Cupin, Rappler, Tacloban. - Rappler.com

The Long Road to Tacloban 
Rappler has set up a base in Tacloban to gather stories in Leyte and Eastern Samar, especially in the towns and villages that sufficient aid and most media have yet to reach. 

On November 14, they set out for Tacloban – by land – from our headquarters in Pasig City. The 36-hour trip took them through the provinces most heavily devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Here, they shared with us what they saw along the way, capturing images of destruction and despair, narrating stories of anguish, hope, and heroism. 

Their journey continues. They are finding people. The stories keep coming. Their and these people's voices are here.

Follow their story here

Help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan). Visit Rappler's list ofongoing relief operations in your area. Tell us about your relief and recovery initiatives, emailmove.ph@rappler.com or tweet us @moveph 

Visit rappler.com/typhoon-yolanda for the latest updates on Typhoon Yolanda.

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