BRISTOL, Tenn. - A local group is home after helping the Philippines with typhoon relief efforts. The group sent a team of doctors and nurses to help with the medical needs.
A group from the Tri-Cities saw fields and fields of debris as they got off the plane in the Philippines after a typhoon destroyed parts of the country. "We were the only hope they had and it made a tremendous difference in their lives," says Dr. David Stevens.
Dr. Stevens is the CEO of the Christian Medical and Dental Association in Bristol Tennessee and was a part of the team that traveled to the Philippines. He tells us they weren't prepared for all of the devastation they saw. "I have never seen anything like the power of that storm and what it did just in an hour or two to devastate this city," adds Stevens.
Dr. Stevens tells us they went to help in a small, but devastated village. "Some of the larger organizations were there in the city and along the main highway. We went out to the village areas where no health care was available," says Stevens.
Stevens tells us the group slept on concrete under at a damaged house. They would go to the makeshift clinics to see patients and each doctor would see at least 100 patients a day. "A lot of them [were] seriously ill some being because they couldn't get their regular medicines a lot of bad hypertension and things like that, but also children with pneumonia, old wounds, things that had not been treated," adds Stevens.
Dr. Stevens says the patients were thankful to see the group come in. "We came in with health and hope and concern which met the great need that they had, to know that somebody cared and somebody was going to help them," he said.
They were thankful because many doctor offices and pharmacies were destroyed during the typhoon along with many of their food sources, leaving them with little access to basic health care.
Stevens says the trip was a success and the organization is looking at helping other people around the world when disaster strikes.
Dr. Stevens tells us they have another group on their way to the Philippines who will stay there though Christmas. He says by that point the country believes they will be able to take care of their own people but the physical recovery is going to take years.