NW Relief Workers Return from Philippines Typhoon Disaster

By Liz Jones

As disaster relief in the Philippines shifts from crisis to rebuilding, some volunteers from the Northwest are also shifting gears.

Members of the volunteer relief group Empact Northwest return home Wednesday night, from a 10-day mission to the tornado wrecked area.

Gig Harbor resident Sil Wong was part of the ground team working on search and recovery operations.

She came home with emotional stories about people working together, and sharing in each others grief.

“Our security detail – our two guys who were with us – seasoned soldiers who have seen a lot, have done a lot, and they were in absolute tears as we were bringing the bodies of children out. They were so moved that people from the US – literally around the world – would come and help them.”

Typhoon Haiyan – one of the deadliest on record - struck the Philippines two weeks ago. The death toll has climbed past 4-thousand people, and millions more are injured or homeless.

Wong says recovery efforts appear slow. A recent PEW survey also finds this typhoon has drawn less interest and donations from Americans, compared to similar disasters.

Sil Wong is scheduled to speak tonight in Seattle as part of benefit dinner for the typhoon victims. You can find details about the event online at FCSeattle.org.

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