News: Philippine, U.S. forces provide additional aid to Tacloban after Yolanda disaster
Story by Lance Cpl. Michael Thorn
TACLOBAN, Philippines – Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. armed forces traveled to Tacloban, Philippines for a cooperative health engagement May 10 as a part of Exercise Balikatan.
Six months prior, on Nov. 8, 2013, Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines affecting more than half a million people and causing more than $2 billion worth in damages. A relief force, led by a Philippine and U.S. contingent, responded within hours of the storm hitting to provide aid to those affected areas, Tacloban being of the most impacted.
“I was at the airport during the storm last year,” said attorney Irene Chiu, executive assistant IV of Tacloban mayor Alfred S. Romualdez. “The first people I saw were U.S. Marines flying in to help. We’re all so thankful for the Americans coming back again today.”
More than 390 community members received medical treatment and health classes during the engagement. Medical assistance included physical check-ups for all ages, prescribed medications, physical therapy and veterinary care, with classes in the same areas.
“Most of the patients we’ve been seeing are children needing help,” said Cdr. Robert Barthel, a physician from Navy Medical Center San Diego. “In addition to aid, we’re also providing classes and teaching the community. Our goal is the locals being able to support themselves when we are gone.”
In addition to being able to provide aid to those in need, the importance of being able to do so as a combined Philippine-U.S. partnership means better ability to respond in the future, just as was necessary and evident during original relief efforts following the super typhoon, according to Brig. Gen. Neil Nelson.
“Our ability to provide a rapid response, to work as one team with one purpose, led to the best possible outcome – lives being saves,” said Nelson, commanding general 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We are here today as people helping people. And it’s together we will realize all that we seek to achieve.”
This work, Philippine, U.S. forces provide additional aid to Tacloban after Yolanda disaster, by Sgt Michael Thorn, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.