Reflections from Erin Manfredi, ICM’s Communications Manager – Trip to Panay
After days of tense waiting, relief goods made their way to remote villages and into the eager arms of devastated and displaced survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.
Located in the Western Visayas region, the Island of Panay was struck particularly hard by the typhoon. ICM recently opened a base there, so it’s been an unusually busy month for our Iloilo Staff. Most days start before 6:00am; loading trucks with thousands of pounds of food and water – followed by a long drive up north to the severely affected areas.
Major obstacles hinder some of the remote villages from receiving aid, but our ICM Staff continue to go the extra mile. After a mudslide caused the road to Barangay Makina to be completely inaccessible by vehicle, our staff hand carried in the heavy boxes of relief goods to the villagers who were waiting eagerly. The gratitude that was evident on the recipients faces said it all.
But I didn’t understand the extend of our staff’s heroism until I visited one of their homes a few days later. Josephine is part of the Iloilo team, and her home was totally destroyed by the typhoon. Although she would have been completely justified spending her days rebuilding her house, she chose instead to be out there every day with the ICM staff serving the desperately needy and helping them get back on their feet.
At the end of most days, the trucks pull back into the base around 9:00pm at night, empty and ready for a new load. Now when I read about aid distribution, I have theses images in my head – ICM Staff members on the front lines putting aside their own personal needs in order to bring food, water and hope to desperate people.Our staff are heroes.