From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 18): U.S. Navy team lauds survivors
SMILING THROUGH THE CRISIS — A Philippine Army soldier takes time to play with children after delivering relief goods for survivors of Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in Concepcion, Iloilo. Concepcion town is where ‘Yolanda’ made its fifth landfall in the country, devastating this place and other parts of northern Panay Island last November 8, 2013. (Tara Yap)
A United States Navy team landing on Eastern Visayas to help in government efforts’ response to the plight of super typhoon Yolanda victims, lauded locals involved in overall relief work.
Commanding officer Joe Ring, who led the 325-man team who came here on board the USS Mustin, said he was amazed at how city government workers and civilians doing volunteer work “managed to have a happy disposition” despite death and destruction.
He particularly marvelled at how “everybody is working here to serve others even if they, themselves are also typhoon victims.”
The US Navy team arrived in Ormoc City over the weekend on board the USS Mustin and hit the ground running, assisting in repair work on government buildings and school building of the Linao Elementary School here.
Ring said the team will also extend support in clearing up operations, air traffic service, and other kinds of assistance needed to ease the burden felt by the community, particularly the typhoon survivors.
The navy vessel was also loaded with relief aid goods from the US government. The items have to be airlifted from the ship to the warehouse at Ormoc City’s astrodome.
Meanwhile, more foreign help has also arrived in Panay, particularly for typhoon-devastated areas on the island’s northern parts.
Philippine Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade (301 IB) commander, Brigadier General Arnold Quiapo said the first batch of relief goods from Indonesia has arrived in Roxas City, Capiz last Sunday, November 17. A C-130 cargo plane from the Indonesian National Armed Forces landed at Iloilo Airport to deliver 11.8 tons of relief goods.
Quiapo said two more such aircraft from the Indonesians are set to arrive in Iloilo from Jakarta to drop off additional relief goods for badly hit areas of Panay Island, where more over two million people are estimated to have been displaced.
The most devastated areas are northern Iloilo and Capiz provinces.
Meanwhile, additional personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces’ Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) also came last Saturday, Nov. 16.
The over 160 Canadian military personnel flew in to augment the initial 43-man team which had arrived in Iloilo last Nov. 14.
The Canadians’ DART specialize in medical care and purifying available water for potable use in disaster-struck areas all over the world.
Quiapo said the government is expecting other foreign troops to come and augment relief efforts in other typhoon-hit provinces including Aklan and Antique in Panay Island.
“We’re expecting the Americans, but we’re not sure when they will arrive,” he said.