Veteran journalist Ramón Tulfo’s account of his visit to Yolanda-ravaged Tacloban city has just been published a few hours ago and is worth reblogging. Manong Mon formed a medical and mercy mission to help out in the relief efforts. As a result of his stay there, he gives us a very clear description of the horrors of the aftermath of arguably the strongest typhoon in world history, as well as emotional insights from himself and his team. What he and his staff witnessed traumatized them.
Reading his account traumatized me too. Especially this scene:
I saw two children, aged between 5 and 9, separated from their parents as they were taken away to ride on a PAF C-130 plane. The parents had been barred from boarding by soldiers, as the plane was already full.
Poor little ones. My heart bleeds, especially since I couldn’t be there to personally extend my help. I just had to hug my kids after reading this. 😦
In the light of the misery and hunger going on in many parts of Visayas, I guess it’s OK if all of us seated in our comfy chairs get “traumatized” a little bit…
Tulfo: I saw people walking aimlessly like zombies.
By Ramon Tulfo
I was not prepared for the scenes of suffering that would haunt me for the rest of my life as we landed at the Tacloban City airport.
I had formed a medical and mercy mission of 12 doctors from St. Luke’s Hospital and six nonmedical people, including myself, that landed in the city three days after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” struck. One doctor had backed out so we became a 17-member mission.
From the air, the once-bustling city of more than 200,000 people looked desolate. Everything was a total mess. It was as if an atomic bomb had been dropped.
As the Philippine Airlines (PAL) plane prepared to land, I saw people walking aimlessly like zombies.
Navy Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, officer in charge of the airport, asked our group—the first nongovernment medical mission to set foot in Eastern Visayas after Yolanda struck—if we wanted to go to Guiuan in Eastern Sámar. The place was supposedly more devastated than Tacloban.
He offered to take us to Guiuan—three hours by car on a normal day from Tacloban—on a helicopter.
Dr. Sammy Tanzo, head of the medical side of the mission, said our group should just stay in the premises of the airport—then crawling with soldiers and police—for security reasons.
November 8, 2013 will forever be etched in the annals of Philippine History, a tragic date that will never be forgotten.