East Texans head to the Philippines to help with disaster relief - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

East Texans head to the Philippines to help with disaster relief

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There are countless numbers of people in need of help in the Philippines.

Super Typhoon Hiyan is believed to have killed thousands of people. Photos and video from the island show that the storm destroyed entire communities and has made travel nearly impossible in some areas. 

However, by the end of the week, East Texans will be overseas to help. Tyler resident Daniel Visitacion, who works with MercyWorks in Lindale, will be leading volunteers from MercyWorks and Youth With a Mission through the Philippines. Three trips to the Philippines are scheduled to leave this month.

Daniel lived in the Philippines until the mid 80's and he is familiar with the country's geography and can speak the language. Daniel says their relief group will be heading to the western part of the island-- that's away from the eastern city of Tacloban that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Daniel's wife, Juliette, is an R.N at East Texas Medical Center and is expected to join the trip later this month.
Daniel will be leading at least three teams of East Texans in the disaster relief efforts. Daniel has done this kind of disaster relief work all over the world. 

"It's my country and it's a place that I'm so familiar [with]. I've been there many times and it's time for me to respond to my homeland," says Daniel.

Daniel was just in the Philippines a couple of months ago. He says the people in the Philippines are used to typhoons, but they're not storms like Hiyan.

"This storm is very unique and very disastrous... I'd like to go and see and see what we can do. I expect there would be a lot of orphans and women and children who are helpless," says Daniel.

Daniel says he does have family members that still live in the Philippines, but they are alright.
When the first arrive, MercyWorks plans on distributing food, water and tarps. Then, they'll send in medical and construction teams.

"We're confident that God will lead us and we can make a big difference in some peoples' lives over there," says Debbie Lascelles, the director of MercyWorks.

MercyWorks is still recruiting volunteers... especially people who are FFilipinoor have medical or construction experience.

"There are quite a few Filipinos in Texas and even, here, in East Texas. If there are any Filipinos, we'd especially love for them to go. Even if you're not Filipino we have translators so you can still go and be a part of a team," explains Debbie.

The first three trips are scheduled to depart on November 15th, November 23rd and after Thanksgiving.

If you'd like to donate to the disaster relief efforts in the Philippines, we have a list of organizations you can make donations through, here.

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