Philippines

Second National Nurses Group Heading to Philippines for Typhoon Haiyan Relief Effort

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3,000 RNs Sign Up to Volunteer Through RNRN Program

A second team of registered nurse volunteers is headed to the Philippines, part of an ongoing disaster relief deployment by RNs affiliated with the National Nurses United’s Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) which is sending RNs to provide medical support in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

The second group will work at several clinic sites around Roxas City on the northern end of Panay island which was in the direct path of the typhoon. The clinics are being set up with local public health officials, physicians, a church and other community supporters. RNs from New York, Las Vegas, Sacramento, and some other sites are also expected to be on the team.

Three sisters, Mary Ann Libeta, Nancy Canapi, and Mary Lou Catedral, all Los Angeles area RNs, were flying to Roxas City today as the first members of the second deployment team. They plan to visit their mother, on the eve of her 80th birthday, who lives in a house in Roxas City that was severely damaged by the storm as it tracked through the island, and other family in the region.

Other members of the second team are expected to fly to the Philippines from sites around the U.S. on Saturday. All are among close to 3,000 RNs from all 50 states and 19 nations who have volunteered to assist with the relief project for Haiyan/Yolanda. NNU is encouraging nurses to continue to sign up, and inviting the public to contribute to the effort, at http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/pages/rnrn-disaster-relief-fund

A first RNRN team has been on the ground for the past five days meeting with disaster relief organizations, provincial government officials, and health care organizations, including the Philippines Alliance of Health Workers, a member of NNU’s international affiliate Global Nurses United, as well as providing hands-on care.

“People have lost their homes, lost their livelihood, lost their animals that helped with their livelihood. They need medical care. They lack medicine, lack nurses, lack doctors. In each area we go to this is their plea, to help with medications and medical assistance.,” said Joseph Catindig, RN, a member of the first team.

“They are asking for help. We’re communicating with the whole the world for them, back home. They are not alone. We’re telling them about all the nurses that have signed up to help. They are a strong people; they know they can rebuild,” said Michelle Vo, RN, another RNRN first team member who has been on the ground.

As she was headed to the airport for the second delegation, Libeta noted that “many houses on the street they grew up on were made of wood and blew away. Currently, there is lack of water, food. There are long lines for purified water, everything.

“We decided to do some volunteer work to help the people in our city. These are people we went to school with, we grew up with. It’s devastating what has happened. When you see the pictures on the TV, on Facebook, I just feel like crying. We said, we need to help them. We are fortunate enough that we can help. We’re asking all the people of the world to help the Philippines,” Libeta said.

RNRN, a project of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of RNs, was formed in 2004 in the aftermath of the South Asia tsunami in 2004, when the need for nurses was not being met by traditional disaster relief organizations. Since that time RNRN has send hundreds of direct-care nurse volunteers to assist following Hurricane Katrina, the massive earthquake in Haiti, and Hurricane Sandy.