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News : UniKL Humanitarian Aid Mission to the Philippines

Recently our neighbouring country, Philippine s,  was  struck  by the Super Typhoon Haiyan   resulting in approximately 8,000 deaths, injuries to many more  and widespread damage to property.  Those   who   survived this tragedy are still living in temporary shelters. They are also suffering from physical and psychological trauma and are in need of urgent aid from the international community. 
UniKL has been collaborating with the Malaysian Relief Agency(MRA) during the previous humanitarian aid missions such as the Pariaman earthquake in Indonesia  in 2009. MRA deployed several medical teams and volunteers   to assist the people affected by the disaster especially in Bantayan Island that had caused severe damage to homes and farms. We managed to continue this collaboration with MRA assisting us in logistics that included medical supplies, accommodation and establishment of contacts with the relevant authorities. The team conducted static and mobile clinics in Hagnaya, Bantayan and Kinartakan Islands in the Philippines. 

The  Medical Team  at the LCCT Sepang, waiting to depart to the Philippines
 The UniKL medical team comprising of Assoc. Prof. Dr Abdul Karim Russ Hassan, assistant lecturer Ms Pek Yah San and Puan Tuminah bte Sabar, Pharmasy Assistant Mr. Nazlee Yusof and counselor Noorul Hilal Jurij departed from the LCCT to Cebu City, Philippines on 3rd February, 2014.  At Cebu City Airport, the team hired a van for a three-hour journey by road to Hagnaya in northern Cebu Island and then from there to board a ferry to Bantayan island the next day. We arrived at Hagnaya at about 7.30 p.m and were welcomed by Mr.Abu Bakar, the care taker of Madinah Mosque. We were briefed on the post-typhoon situation in Hagnaya where we noticed the roof of the mosque had been blown away by the Typhoon. 

The team was served sea food for dinner cooked by the volunteers. We put up a night at the mosque and woke up early the next morning to set up the mobile clinic at the mosque. Hagnaya has a small Muslim community and the children were attached to the mosque. We conducted a clinic from the morning until noon with 76 patients getting treatment at the mobile clinic.

Mobile clinic at Hagnaya Mosque, north Cebu island, Philippines
On 4 February, we boarded the ferry for a one hour journey to Santa Fe in the Bantayan Island that had been badly hit by the typhoon. There was clear evidence of damaged houses and destruction of coconut trees. However, as there was early warning given to the people of Bantayan through radio and television urging the people to move to safer areas, there were fewer casualties as compared to Tacloban, on another island. However, there was more damage to property and domestic animals such as chicken, pigs and cattle.  People were busy repairing their houses and showed clear signs of psychological effects from the tragedy. 

Food aid being delivered to Mr. Abu Bakar, the village rep. by Mr. Noorul Hilah 

The damaged houses and temporary shelter on Bantayan Island
On 5th February, we conducted two mobile clinics at Bantayan Island. In Barangai Marikaban, we treated more than 160 patients mainly with respiratory tract infections, arthritis, gastritis, and children with skin infections. In the afternoon, we went to another village at Barangai Okoy where we attended to 76 patients. The village was quite badly hit by the typhoon with most houses being destroyed. Many of the people were still staying in temporary shelters. 

Dispensing of medicine by Mr Nazlee and counselling session by Mr Noorul Hilal (at the back) in Barangai Marikaban, Bantayan Island.
Reported by
Dr Abdul Karim Russ Hassan

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