RescueNet (RN) deployed nineteen international members into the Philippines from 11-30 November 2013.
As I was unable to rapidly respond, I asked David Mansfield, the US Co-ordinator, to head up the leadership of this deployment. Dave and a small team flew into Cebu and then caught a military Philippine flight into Tacloban.
Shortly after he headed into Tacloban, I arrived in Cebu to meet up with the rest of the team. At first Dave could not get a ‘start’ and it was raining and miserable. He therefore rang me to say not to bring the rest of the team into Tacloban at that point.
However, after they prayed and within a very short space of time after he told me not to come, he rang again saying to come as they had a definite start. What had happened was that the Mayor of Tanauan (Mayor Pelof Tecson), having not received any assistance for two days, the Mayor Pel decided to come to Tacloban looking for anybody to come down to his town to help his people.
The Lord had it that Dave and Mayor Pel would meet and so I then organised for the rest of the team to fly across to Tacloban on an Australian military flight. From there we were transported via Philippine army trucks and on arrival, we were housed in the home of a friend of the Mayor and the next day we set up operations in the local Town Council/community centre.
The team worked together extremely well. Some members quickly set up a pharmacy and a full working clinic under tarpaulins strung up from wall to wall inside the building as the roof had been taken off. Others were busily trying to repair the roof and others yet again formed a body retrieval unit.
Every day approximately one hundred and fifty people came through our little clinic; between five and ten bodies were retrieved and many houses were worked on.
As time went on, more and more assistance started to arrive in Tanauan and it wasn’t too long before a small Japanese team of surgeons arrived to do minor surgery which saved us the big problem of transporting severe cases back to AusAid in Tacloban.
On Thursday 21st, Dave Mansfield and about three quarters of the team had to return to their homes for various reasons, leaving only quite a small remnant which I agreed to head up.
The Japanese only stayed for about a week and they were replaced by a German team who consisted of various voluntary surgeons, nurses and paramedics. Their presence released our small team to go out to the smaller outlying villages to do what we could to help stabilise people’s injuries onsite and I encouraged several of the German team to come with us in order for them to eventually take over all of our good works, which they did.