(KHNL) They went to help disaster victims in a poor province in the Phillipines, and now they're home safely. It was a happy homecoming for a Hawaii medical team Wednesday morning. Our own crew followed the Aloha Medical Mission as it traveled abroad to "bring relief to the Philippines after a devastating mudslide. KHNL's Diane Ako and photographer Tim McRobert giveus an overview of the trip in a story you'll see only on 8.
Tired after a 22 hour journey, members of Aloha Medical Mission - or AMM, a Hawaii-based group of medical volunteers, returned from the Philippines Wednesday morning. They went to help those affected by a mudslide that devastated the entire village of Guinsaugon, killing more than 900 people.
AMM partnered with the Congress of Visayan Organizations, a Filipino group based out of Hawaii. The team flew to the Philippines for 10 days.
"I can feel the energy of going out there to help, the genuine effort and interest to help the victims of the mudslide" said Day Day Hopkins of the Congress of Visayan Organizations.
Four weeks after the disaster, the devastation is so massive it is still hard to comprehend.
"It s overwhelming. One thing I was impressed with when I wandered back there was just how quiet it is. I wasn't expecting that. Just the size of this landslide, the size of what fell away from the mountainside and the area that's involved is just unbelieveable" said Dr. Vernon Ansdell of AMM.
Here are some of the survivors and evacuees crowding the Aloha Medical Mission's free clinic.
"His son and wife died. Very sad. Some times he wakes up, he remembers. It's very hard for him" translator Erwin Gabrillo describes the ordeal of survivor Arseino Japsol.
AMM hopes to set up a permanent clinic in the area because the need is so great. As a symbol of that new partnership between Hawaii and the Philippines, the mayor and AMM held a tree planting ceremony at the mudslide site, giving life and hope to people now desperately struggling.
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