Hamilton doctor returns from Philippine typhoon Haiyan relief efforts

McMaster professor, Dr. Lynda Redwood-Campbell, shares her experiences helping disaster victims after spending a month in Ormoc City, Philippines with the Canadian Red Cross

How a Hamilton doctor helped save lives in the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan

Dr. Lynda Redwood-Campbell returns from Ormoc City, Philippines, where she was helping Red Cross relief efforts 1:58

The devastating typhoon Haiyan left more than six thousand people dead and millions displaced. Dr. Lynda Redwood-Campbell, McMaster University professor, is one of the many Canadians who joined international rescue teams in bringing much needed aid to those affected by the disaster.

“It was a great privilege. I have to say I’m proud to be Canadian and to see the Canadian response,” Redwood-Campbell said. “Canadians generally have been responsive and open to these kinds of disasters. If we continue to contribute I think it does make a difference. I have seen that it does work.”

The support from the Canadian government has been massive. Shortly after the typhoon hit the Philippines, the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was deployed carrying equipment and supplies. From Nov. 9 to Dec. 23, 2013, the government matched individual Canadian donations dollar for dollar as part of the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund. In total, Canadians have made more than $20 million in humanitarian assistance.

Hamilton’s Filipino community held a fundraiser days after the typhoon struck. Typhoon Haiyan – locally known as Yolanda – created widespread destruction setting off landslides and leaving millions displaced. Dr. Flordicante Caliban, board member of the Hamilton Filipino Community Centre, said members of the Hamilton Filipino community lost friends and family in the disaster. Members of Caliban’s family in the Cebu province lost their homes. Take a look at the photo gallery above for images capturing the devastation in Cebu City.

“When it happened first I said ‘gosh,’” Caliban said. “It was devastating. I felt sorry for the people.”

Redwood-Campbell says she would not have been able to make the trip without the support of her colleagues at the university’s family medicine department.

“They have a saying in the Philippines called ‘bangon’ - which means ‘rise up’ – and it was a slogan we heard over and over again. I would encourage them as they continue the rehabilitation and development process and I would say ‘bangon’.”

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