Guam To Send $100,000 In Medical Supplies To Philippines

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Regional Medical City’s $50,000 matched by community, business

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Nov. 20, 2013) – Guam will send $100,000 worth of medical supplies to the Philippines to boost medical care for hundreds of thousands of disaster victims who are struggling to survive in cramped hospitals, evacuation sites, and tent cities in the provinces ravaged by Supertyphoon Yolanda.

Community organizations and local companies have matched the Guam Regional Medical City’s $50,000 pledge in partnership with the Ayuda Foundation.

With GRMC's $50,000 match, the typhoon relief drive has now raised more than $100,000. The money will be used to purchase medical supplies under the Med-Share program, which will provide 40-foot containers of medical supplies and equipment for hospitals devastated by the typhoon.

"Our efforts will result in five containers of medical supplies and equipment going to five different hospitals in the devastated areas of Central Visayas," said GRMC's president and CEO Margaret Bengzon said.

The Filipino Community of Guam committed $40,000 and the Bank of Guam donated $10,000 to the typhoon relief fund.

Outbreaks

The aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda is now threatening the Philippines with an epidemic of potentially fatal diseases due to the lack of fresh water and food, sanitation collapse, and the inability of health care groups and emergency responders to reach the devastated areas.

Medical experts predict outbreaks of cholera, hepatitis, malaria, dengue fever, typhoid fever, bacterial dysentery and a return of polio.

Philippine authorities estimate more than 3,900 people were killed in the Nov. 8 disaster. Estimates of the death toll have varied widely and the governor of worst-hit Leyte province said more than 4,000 people could have been killed on the island of that name alone.

The Medical City Iloilo will be assisting in ensuring that relief supplies and equipment will be going to the five different hospitals in the devastated areas of the Visayas.

"We are honored that the management of the Guam Regional Medical City has chosen to respond to the Philippines disaster with us (in partnership with the Filipino Community of Guam," said Carlotta Leon Guerrero, Ayuda Foundation’s executive director.

Disconnected

On Guam and Saipan, many Filipino residents who were natives of the affected provinces are still unable to directly contact family and friends due to heavily damaged infrastructure.

"I have had sleepless nights. My younger brother just texted me now and gave me some very bad news: my aunt perished during the typhoon. There are no information about my nephews and nieces," said Saipan resident Uly Torres Sabuco, whose family and relatives are in Tacloban.

Sabuco’s parents, who survived the typhoon, are soon relocating to Manila. "The emotional toll is hard," he said.

Meanwhile, Docomo Pacific TV is currently offering its cable subscribers free access to four Filipino cable channels until Dec. 1.

"Free access on the Filipino channels will allow local viewers to receive the latest up-to-date information regarding relief and recovery efforts taking place in the Philippines’ typhoon-ravaged areas," Docomo said.

"By staying tuned to the Filipino TV networks, local residents can better monitor relief and recovery efforts as well as possibly obtain information on the status and whereabouts of families and friends in the Philippines," it added.

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