Hawaii Filipino Groups and Medical Experts Join Together to Help Mudslide Victims

GUINSAUGON, Southern Leyte, Philippine Islands (KHNL)- A massive torrent of mud swept over the village of Guinsaugon in the province of South Leyte on February 17, 2006. Almost 1,000 people - nearly the entire village's population - were buried alive in minutes. Only 20 were found alive.

Here in Hawaii, the close knit Filipino community immediately rallied to help, raising nearly $30,000. They donated that to the Aloha Medical Mission, whose volunteer staff flew over to help the victims. KHNL Anchor/ reporter Diane Ako and Videojournalist Tim McRobert followed along to document this "Mission Of Aloha", bringing relief to the Philippines.

Dr. Vernon Ansdell, lead physician for Aloha Medical Mission, details the goal, "It was to help the people impacted by this slide. Not only in this village but people evacuated in the neighboring villages." Registered Nurse Lolita "Lita" Ching added, "That's the basic mission of the A.M.M.: to serve the underprivileged and poor."

The Aloha Medical Mission partnered with the Congress of Visayan Organizations, or COVO, an umbrella group representing 20 Filipino clubs, and travelled to the Philippines with medicine and money.

The 36-hour journey began with flights from Honolulu to Japan, to Manila and on to the city of Tacloban. They then drove 6 hours to the final destination, St. Bernard, where 20 mudslide survivors and 62 hundred others evacuated for their safety. They now call refugee camps in St. Bernard home