Embedded with a special Filipino Military Unit, EMPACT NW Team 1 is working under extremely difficult conditions. The weather has been in the 80’s-90’s and the water must be filtered or boiled to rehydrate freeze dry food. Communications are impossible outside of Tacloban. Fuel is scarce and available vehicles are rare. Most of the main roads have been mostly cleared near the city. Competing priorities have made equipment and military assets difficult to access and has contributed to delays in communication through the chain of command.
Our team has spent the past 48 hours working grid search and recovery missions. They cleared two heavily damaged communities outside of Tacloban. The community of Palo- Mac Arthur Beach had a population of 600 but less than 100 people are accounted for. The team worked their systematic search patterns through the community, and many recoveries were made in this area.
It is common practice of Urban Search and Rescue teams to adapt to the unfolding needs of a community. From recoveries, logistical support, construction. and medical missions, our team will do anything we are asked to do. The job has been difficult both emotionally and physically for our members. But they are professionals, and they will continue to do what they went for: to help the people of a devastated community. The task is grim but necessary.
The local community members are heroic. After surviving this monster of a storm, they took care of themselves by performing their own rescues, road clearing operations, and food scavenging. They have and continue to endure horrific conditions, and they require immediate assistance.
Help is starting to reach the Tacloban Airport; however, the crisis is far from over. Organizations like Fuel Relief Fund.org are attempting to move drums of gasoline by boat or truck to Tacloban and CDRS is working with the Rotary of NY to bring a convoy of trucks carrying food and water. The trucks would be provided by the Consular Generals of Estonia and Lithuania. IMAT is bringing in medical supplies and a water filtration system. This truly is a multinational, multi-organizational effort and is not possible without our friends and supporters.
Tomorrow, EMPACT NW will send a second team to Tacloban. This team will consist of highly trained and experienced tech rescue and medical specialists. They will pick up where Team 1 left off. They will also receive and distribute medical supplies and in service the water system.
All of our efforts continue to be funded by donations. We are excited to announce that an artist in New York has designed a tee shirt for the Philippines relief effort with Before the Label and all proceeds from these sales will go to EMPACT Northwest. This can be found online at http://beforethelabel.com/campaigns/have-a-heart-tee-for-the-philippines/.
We still have the option to donate online as well at www.empactnorthwest.org.
For more information, please contact our PIO team. Cory Freeborn 360-513-7840. EMPACTcory@gmail.com
Empact Northwest is a non-profit organization comprised of an all-volunteer force of medical and rescue professionals dedicated to providing aid and training to those in need in our communities and around the world.