On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) made her way through the Philippine Islands, leaving in her wake at least 7,000 people dead, millions homeless and complete communities destroyed.Typhoon Yolanda went on to impact other countries, but none were plummeted as hard as the Philippine Islands of Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Mindoro and Panay, which were directly in the path of up to 167+ mile-per-hour winds.
The people of the Philippines had to rely on the support they received in the way of prayers, food, supplies and money. That support is helping them as they build makeshift infrastructures, dispose of their dead respectfully, build homes and gather their families together while trying to create a normalcy of life on the islands. The following is an account of how acupuncture has fit into the rescue effort and a plea for continued support.
It seems a catastrophe can happen in a minute, an hour, a few days with the consequences unfolding over weeks, months, even years. It is the long road back that loses its place in the news; the recognition that all those lives that made headlines, are still actively trying to get back to normal and daily life.
Dr. Quang Huynh, AcA (acupuncturist) of New Orleans and Saigon and Wendy Henry LAc/AcA New York and New Orleans both members of Community Relief and Rebuilding through Education and Wellness (CRREW) and NADA Vietnam/Cambodia conference called with Janet of NADA Philippines in Manila soon after Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines. The purpose of the call was to see how acupuncturists and acu-detox specialists could lend support to NADA Philippines. This was the start of a continuous dialogue between NADA Philippines and our groups, regarding aid to the people of the Philippine islands affected by Yolanda. Janet was familiar with our work from earlier years when they were first forming a program to benefit street children in the aftermath of a fire that swept through Quezon City/Metro Manila area in 2010. Janet was instrumental in founding NADA Philippines.
One of the group's primary concerns was the potential onslaught of volunteers willing to come to help in the island areas with the infrastructures demolished and the threat of spreading disease. Plumbing, waste disposal, electricity, pumps, roads, transportation and housing had been destroyed and water contaminated. At the time of this writing, NADA Philippines was not certain of how they would accommodate their own members on the islands.
This group along with local acupuncturists set to work, first at an airbase - where those being airlifted from the islands en route to family and friends elsewhere in the Philippines were arriving. Areas were set aside and treatment began on these individuals, alongside the rescue workers, pilots and crew that were also shuttling supplies back to the islands. There were some acupuncturists on the islands already working in crude conditions treating what was physically presented by the survivors of Yolanda. Janet reported that the groups were using between 8,000 to 10,000 needles a day to start.
Work went into sending out information and networking in California, Florida, New Orleans, New York, and Saigon to get supplies: needles, ear seeds, alcohol, cotton balls, medical waste containers, moxa, herbal medicine etc.
Lhasa OMS with the help of Mike Bailey created a Yolanda account. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, New York and San Diego also became the initial depository for needle donations from schools and clinics around the country. Acupuncturists Without Borders purchased needles through OMS with monies they received for the effort. Lhasa OMS sent the first shipment in December.
In January, NADA Philippines sent six acupuncture detoxification specialists (ADS) to Our Lady Of Assumption Parish Tanuan, Leyte, Brgy Magay – Tuaua, Leyte – San Fernando School – Tacloban City, Leyte. According to Trisha Sanijon, ADS "...At each center they were met with interest and wonder. Many reported that they had not slept a full night since Yolanda due to the many small storms in the area...". The successful effect on the adults and children of Leyte and learning to work within the existing parameters presented the group with specific objectives and criteria for their upcoming trainings.
Recently, Janet updated us on the current situation in the Philippines since the relief effort. She noted that after 100 days since Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the country, more than 7,000 were found dead in Leyte; and more bodies are recovered daily.
NADA training was scheduled in March in Tacloban City. However, she noted they needed financial support to help a community workers take part in training. Community workers would be from the 54 Barangays (barrios/districts) of Tanauan, hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
Cost of each trainee to attend NADA training (food, transportation, materials, board/lodging) is $235.00 each X 50 participants = approximately $ 11,750.00. Janet also noted they were also raising funds to buy fishing boats for Barangay Magay, Tanauan, Leyte. This is one of the areas we have adopted to help and train the workers in the NADA protocol. (See sidebar on ways you can help).
Each year Dr. Quang Huynh returns to Vietnam in the new year supporting the programs started by CRREW and NADA Vietnam Cambodia. Accompanying Quang yearly are new volunteers from the States and other countries. This year Quang made a special trip to bring supplies to the Philippines. Supplies included were reusable bead boards for auricular treatments from Vietnam. Dr. Quang spent several days with Ferdinand Dayro of Prime Meridian Acupuncture Clinic, Manila. Together they toured and treated the people of Tacloban. Hosting them was Sacred Heart College in Tacloban, where a medical clinic had been set up. Quang boarded the plane in the U.S. in good health and by the time he arrived in Tacloban he had come down with a cold. While able to bring supplies and do some treatment, the question arises is the risk of bringing outside colds etc. to this area worth it? If you do go to volunteer figure in some time in Manila to adjust to the climate and to be sure you have not caught anything on the plane.
The practitioners of the Philippines have a definite protocol they are following. It is our goal to help them in the manor requested by sending funding and supplies and preparing ourselves should they request on ground assistance in the future. Realizing this is a project that will take years to rebuild from, the emotional impact needs to be addressed from the start.
Acupuncture is becoming globally accepted in the first responder arena, as a viable source of helping both first responders and those traumatized in a crisis situation as it is a good start in helping people relieve stress, sleep and get focused in order to rebuild their lives.
How You Can Help
All donations can be wired to NADA Philippines Dollar Account BANK OF PHILIPPINE ISLANDs (BPI)
Loyola Katipunan branch, corner J. Escaler Street, Loyola Heights, Quezon City 1108
Dollar Account No.0030840616-45
SWIFT Code BOPIPHMM
Ear needle donations, sharps containers, moxa sticks.
In the United States please mail to:
Cristina Tangonan/ Gloria Tangonan
141 Santa Rosa Avenue,
Oxnard CA 93035
Contributions to the acupuncturist group that Ferdinand Dayo is involved with can made to "Fund Me" program 99.000 needles for the Philippines (http://www.gofundme.com/58qzi8).
To order supplies from Lhasa OMS for this effort: tel: 800-722-8775. The account number is 228542. Orders must be by phone, and Lhasa will take care of getting the supplies to the shipping address. There's no charge for the shipping and no tax unless you live in Massachusetts. If you know of an acupuncture/holistic health group that plans to offer relief work in the Philippines, please be in contact: .