When Samahang Operasyong Sagip (SOS) signaled the alarm to help the people of Samar, scores of volunteers from different fields enlisted to take their part in the national and international effort to aid the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Basing from reports that some towns in Eastern and Western Samar are still unreached by government aid as of this writing, the SOS, in coordination with its partners in Samar Island, identified three (3) areas to bring immediate relief and medical aid: General McArthur and Hernani in Eastern Samar and, Basey in Western Samar. SOS teams will be leaving for Samar on November 20 and stay on until the 25th.
“Despite the propensity of damage and loss to lives, adequate government aid has not reached the peoples of these three towns,” said Rosalinda C. Tablang, president of SOS. She added that inefficiency and bureaucratic processes has “gotten in the way of delivering food and medicines that are urgently needed” in these towns among others.
Tablang shared that their medical and relief delivery teams plan to distribute relief packs and conduct medical and minor surgery services among the affected families and individuals in said towns. They hope to bring relief and medical aid to more than 1,500 families there.
The medical team is composed of 10 medical doctors from different specialties, registered nurses, and health workers. The relief delivery team on the other hand is composed of volunteers from Manila, representatives of health NGOs and a journalist and private group Samahan ng mga Litratista sa Rizal (SLR Camera Club). Medico International, a German-based NGO will also be joining the relief and medical mission.
SOS, established in 1990 as a response to the effects of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, said that the mission will only be the first among several efforts that they will do to help the people of Samar.
“With this initial visit, we also hope to draw up the master plan for the rehabilitation of the said communities in the months to come. Much will be based on the initial assessment from the ground,” Tablang said.
“What SOS and its volunteers do is to bring aid to the people from the people which will help them carry on with what is left. However, apart from bringing aid, the task of rebuilding communities anew lies in the hand of the state because it is their primary responsibility and they have all the resources to realize the rebuilding program. But this requires resolve and political will. Unfortunately, the government lacks that,” Tablang ended.