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Posted By: Jon Brack on November 8, 2014

Labels: The Philippines , Disaster-Relief, Humanitarian Aid

Jon Brack, a volunteer photojournalist from Washington D.C., spent two weeks traveling with our Board of Directors delegation to the Philippines and Indonesia starting in late October 2014.  The delegation is visiting our program beneficiaries and sites.

Recovery continues in the Camotes Islands, the Philippines one year after Typhoon Haiyan

The Project HOPE Board of Directors delegation made its first site visit in the Philippines to the beautiful Camotes Islands. The area sustained a direct hit from Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last November, and its only hospital and all regional and rural health care facilities in the islands’ four districts were heavily damaged. Project HOPE responded in the immediate aftermath of the disaster with donations of medicine and medical supplies, and three volunteer health professionals provided care.

Reaching Camotes Islands involves a two-hour ferry ride from Cebu, one of the main islands in the center of the Philippines. The ferry travels several times a day and serves as the only access to Camotes. Medical emergencies also use the same boat to transport patients for care not possible on the island.

Rebuilding goes on in the Philippines one year after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

Project HOPE's delegation visited the several active programs still happening on Camotes. A group of three retired electricians from the San Francisco area are volunteering their time and expertise to repair the Calamante Barangay Health Station with a new roof and reallocation of internal areas to allow for a larger delivery room. Three happier men would be hard to find, and they and their four local assistants were already tearing out the old features and preparing for the new, better facility. After Calamante, they'll do the same with the Moabog Health Station on Pilar, the next island over.

We also had the chance to meet a new doctor for Camotes Hospital that HOPE has helped hire with the Provincial Health Office as part of a new fellowship. He'll also be responsible for outreach in the various health centers throughout the islands in areas normally without access to health care.

Dr. Joyce Johnson, the head of HOPE's board delegation, was one of the original volunteers to Camotes after the typhoon and enthusiastically reported that things had improved considerably since she was there in the weeks immediately following the storm. Homes have been rebuilt, crops and fields regrown, fallen trees removed with new ones growing to replace them. With an inspiring level of resiliency and a lot of hard work, the people of Camotes continue to rebuild their islands back to the beautiful place that it was before.

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