On March 6, Jilliane Miranda, my co-worker, and I attended the Canadian Red Cross Volunteer Reception. The event, hosted by His Honour, Philip S. Lee, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and Her Honour, Anita K. Lee, was held to recognize the generosity and compassion of the Red Cross and the Manitoba community for those impacted by Typhoon Haiyan.
The evening was truly awakening and inspiring. His Honour expressed his gratitude to everyone who played a role in helping the victims of this devastating storm, from the organizations that organized donations to those individuals who volunteered in the field. Most inspiring were the stories that were shared about Red Cross’s amazing aid for a country in need.
For me, the most emotional part of the evening was hearing first-hand from Gwendolyn, a Red Cross field worker. After volunteering in the Philippines for 30 days, she shared a presentation of heart-tugging photos as she described how medical supplies were deployed, and a temporary hospital was built; and how victims received medical care. They demonstrated the devastating impact of thousands of homes and families in the community of Ormoc.
Canadian Red Cross teams worked around the clock with minimal rest to assist the thousands of victims faced with contaminated water, surgical needs and maternal services. In fact, there were over 500 babies born in the temporary Red Cross Hospital during that 30-day period. Gwendolyn worked hands-on in the maternity ward, and shared with us that there was one particular mother who was so thankful for her work she named her newborn daughter after her. To this day Gwendolyn is still in contact with baby Gwendolyn’s mother and keeps up-to-date on the baby’s progress.
Like many families in Winnipeg, Jilliane’s family was also affected by Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation. Her Lola (grandma) was missing for days after the typhoon hit. Fortunately, she was rescued by a family friend and was brought back to Manila where she was welcomed by her children who flew from North America to come to her aid.
Rapid Assistance from the Red Cross
At the reception, we learned what it took for the Red Cross to come to the aid of victims just 48 hours after the typhoon hit, such as:
- tools and equipment they brought in anticipation of what they were about to face.
- countless hours of work they did to help restore the hospital.
- training provided to local volunteers.
- hundreds of surgeries completed.
We came away with an understanding that together we helped a fellow nation in their time of need. Assiniboine’s donation of $14,500 enabled the Canadian Red Cross to support the Philippine Red Cross. Thank you to all Assiniboine Credit Union members and staff for their donations and support. Maraming Salamat Po! (Thank You!)
Continuing Their Support
It has been just over four months since this devastating storm hit. The Red Cross continues to provide relief to communities in need of food, shelter, clean water and medical assistance as they continue to recover from this disaster. Their work is not done as they focus on supporting the long-term recovery of 100,000 families in the worst affected areas over the next two years. To learn how you can help support the Red Cross visit http://www.redcross.ca/.