Typhoon Hiyan hit the Philippines more than a month ago, but East Texans are still overseas helping people rebuild. The storm traveled through the central portion of the Philippines and devastated the City of Tacloban and the rural areas surrounding it. More than 5,000 people were killed.
Just days after Typhoon Hiyan blew through the Philippines, MercyWorks, a Christian disaster relief group in Lindale, started organizing aid. Some East Texas volunteers have returned from their missions in the Philippines, but their friends and family are still working.
Rebecca Taylor, and East Texas Filipino, was watching KLTV 7 News when she learned MercyWorks was searching for volunteers.
"I just... I felt like I was called to do that," she says.
While in the Philippines, Rebecca was assigned to the medical outreach team.
"We had an outpatient clinic and people were just coming in lined up to get medical help because they didn't have anything," Rebecca explains.
She and other nurses worked with the local hospitals that could hardly function because they didn't have supplies or doctors.
"There is no comparison. They had nothing. Nothing. We didn't have charts. We were using pieces of paper that had been used on one side and we cut it in 4 pieces to take someone's name and check their vital signs," recalls Rebecca.
Juliet Visitacion, another volunteer, worked with a team to build shelter for widows.
"Homes were gone. I saw a woman who was living in a pig pen because there was nothing. [It was] total chaos. [There was} no electricity," says Juliet.
Juliet's husband, Daniel, is still in the Philippines leading volunteers. They're about to finish construction on their 26th house. This year will be the first time in their 30 years of marriage that Juliet and her husband won't be together on Christmas, but the gift they're able to give the people in the Philippines makes it all worthwhile.
"They were praying day and night for help to come and when they saw us they were so grateful. You would not believe it... every street...every person that you spoke to....they are so grateful that we came," says Juliet.
Both Juliet and Rebecca who are from the Philippines hadn't been back in a while. Rebecca hadn't been to the Philippines in 40 years. However, this time they left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation for what we have in America and they say they hope their neighbors will remember to be grateful too.
The rest of the volunteers who are still working in the Philippines don't know exactly when they'll come home yet. They say there are still so many people to help and sometimes the supplies, like lumber to build homes, can be scarce. Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.
Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:31 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:31:48 GMT
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