independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Nurses in 10,000-euro Haiyan appeal

Typhoon Haiyan survivors light candles for their still-missing relatives at a mass grave in the outskirts of Tacloban city in central Philippines (AP)

Nurses are raising funds to send Filipino colleagues back home to work with communities destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan.

Up to three trained nurses will spend a month in frontline hospitals in disaster-affected areas, with another three returning to areas where the lives of family and friends were left devastated.

More than 6,000 people were killed, tens of thousands injured or left homeless, and hospitals damaged when winds of up to 275 kph (170 mph) battered the south of the country last month.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) wants to raise more than 10,000 euros for the cause.

Filipino nurse Cres Abragan said typhoons hit the Philippines 10 to 20 times a year, but never as strong as Haiyan.

"The strength of the wind this time, and the effect afterwards, was like an atomic bomb hitting the area," said the Dublin-based married father-of-three.

"It was really devastating.

"Being here and not there and not being able to help adds to the heart break.

"We have a great empathy with the situation there."

The nurses sent over will work within the communities hit the hardest, and report back on what kind of supplies are most needed.

Donations can be made through www.inmo.ie, where fundraising events are detailed.

Mr Abragan, who moved from the southern city of Iligan 11 years ago, said a lot of Ireland's 8,000 Filipino nurses know someone whose life has been touched by the typhoon.

"I have a friend from one of the affected areas," he continued.

"His family is safe, but some of his relatives are still missing.

"Another friend who nurses here, the roof of his home was blown off and the family of another friend are in an evacuation centre.

"The hospitals are also badly damaged."

The 38-year-old agency nurse used to work for the Red Cross in the Philippines, responding to similar disasters.

A co-ordinator with Couples for Christ in Dublin, he has also been sending medical supplies donated by Irish hospitals back to his home country.

"Christmas has been very hard for us knowing we have country men who are having these problems," he added.

"Many people cancelled their Christmas parties and cut back on spending to send extra money home.

"Christmas is about giving and it's about making sure we spend time with family."

Press Association

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