I.N.C. conducts relief, medical missions In Bogo, Bantayan, Camotes Islands

INC conducts relief medical missions In Bogo Bantayan Camotes Islandsr businessmirror
CAMOTES Islands—Old and frail and clutching her relief pack of 4 kilos of rice, sardines and noodles, Aling Tomasa Bangcale, 82, was very thankful that food aid and medicines finally came to Camotes Islands, which was also badly hit by Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan).

She said this was the first time a medical mission came their way.  A medical team, part of the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s (INC) relief efforts on Sunday, gave her a free medical checkup and medicines, too.

She was among some 12,000 residents of Camotes Islands who received food aid from the INC’s special relief project for Yolanda’s survivors.

On that day, the INC relief and medical mission also went to Bantayan Island and Bogo, in northern Cebu, and in Danao City in southern Cebu.

More than 45,000 relief bags containing rice, sardines and noodles were distributed to these four areas in Cebu.

Dr. Sergie Santos of the Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation Inc., the INC’s charitable arm, said some 12,000 relief bags were distributed in each of these areas.

The volunteers from medical teams in Metro Manila and Cebu also treated and gave free medical service to thousands of residents in these areas.

After the relief distribution in Leyte province, Yolanda’s victims on Camotes Islands, Bantayan Island, Bogo and Danao City, all in Cebu, were the next beneficiaries of the relief and medical mission under the “Lingap sa Mamamayan,” or Aid to Humanity, effort of the INC, which was done in cooperation with the FYM Foundation Inc.

The INC first conducted its relief and medical mission in Ormoc City on November 14 and Carigara, Leyte, on Saturday as part of its efforts to help the survivors of Yolanda.

After Carigara, the INC mission volunteers immediately went separately to the various areas affected by the super typhoon in Cebu.

On Camotes Islands the INC house of worship in Barangay Himensulan, San Francisco town, became the site of the massive relief distribution.

Reynaldo Maranga, 48, barangay captain, said there were people from the 15 barangays on Camotes Islands who came to the INC relief and medical mission.

“We are very thankful.  This is an answered prayer for us,” he said in Filipino.

The medical volunteers who went to Camotes Islands were from Cebu City.  They patiently explained to the residents who lined up for the checkup what they should do regarding their ailments, and how and when to take the medicines given to them.

Dr. Ernesto Nillama tried to make sure the residents understood his instructions, so he explained the medical dosages, for example, in the vernacular, to them.

Mission of mercy even aboard the barge

Before reaching Camotes Islands, the medical team had to ride a barge hired by INC from Cebu City. The trip to Camotes Islands from the Cebu City port lasted for about five hours.

Before this, the volunteer medical teams, including the doctors and nurses from Manila, took a barge from Ormoc port, right after the medical mission in Carigara on Saturday.

In Ormoc port the barge hired to transport the INC volunteers and the trucks containing the relief goods also became a refuge for some residents of Tacloban City and Ormoc City, who had been waiting for days at the pier.  They had been lining up for a chance to board a barge or a ferry that would bring them to Cebu City since the Ormoc port became operational.

Among the evacuees who boarded the barge was Zelah Gorres, 30, who was suffering from psoriasis triggered by the stress she suffered after surviving the super typhoon.

Her psoriasis was supposedly cured three years ago, but it reappared last week as she suffered sleepless nights since Yolanda struck. She said they just wanted to leave Ormoc City.

Dr. Miriam Isla, a volunteer dermatologist who was part of the INC’s medical team of volunteers, said Gorres’s psoriasis was triggered by stress.  She treated Gorres and gave her medicines for it.

Estrella Ygay, 61, said she and other family members had been at the Ormoc port for five days, lining up for ferry tickets to Cebu.  But the lines were simply too long, and the slots for a Cebu trip by barge or even a ferry were too few, as more and more people wanted to evacuate from Leyte to Cebu.

Ygay said she was thankful to the INC organizers of the relief mission because she and her family were allowed to board the barge to Cebu City.

Susan Cadavis, 46, brought along all her daughters when she boarded the barge hired for the INC relief mission.

All her relatives were onboard a white van that was also accommodated in the barge, along with their other vehicle that contained their belongings.  She said they were already fearful for their safety in Tacloban City and decided to evacuate the area.

Asked if she and her family would return to Tacloban City, she said, they might, if the situation improves.  But for now, she said, it is much better to leave their hometown as they try to recover from the tragedy.