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Fifth Team of Registered Nurses Returns from the Philippines

Press Release, 1/29/14

Contact Information | Media Center

Part of National Nurses' Ongoing Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda Relief Effort

This week the fifth team of registered nurses, part of the Registered Nurse Response Network, are returning from the Philippines after providing basic medical care at a city health clinic in Roxas City, near the northern end of the island of Panay which was in the direct path of the storm. The team includes RNs from New York, Minnesota, Texas, and California. They are among the 3,000 RNs from all 50 states and 19 nations who volunteered in the days after the deadly storm to assist with the relief project for Haiyan/Yolanda.

The RNs also traveled to Estancia as part of a medical mission with the Alliance of Healthcare Workers (AHW), a Filipino nurses' union. At each site there were hundreds of patients lined up waiting to be seen when they arrived, and over the course of their three day medical mission there they provided care for over 1,300 people. Estancia was one of the hardest hit areas of the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, where 90% of all schools remain closed and most inhabitants still do not have electricity since the typhoon hit on November 8 last year.

"What impressed me most about the experience was the gratitude expressed by the people we helped. Their eyes lit up just by our presence before we even actively performed any assistance. It truly gave them hope." said Diane McClure, an RN at South Sacramento Kaiser. "There are many areas that still have no assistance in regards to basic medical care. Many people are without homes or electricity. The recovery effort needs to continue far into the future," said McClure, who has twenty four years of nursing experience.

"Now that the world is no longer focused on the devastation in the Philippines, it is even more important that we continue to lend our support," said Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of RNRN. "We are working closely with our sister organization in the Philippines, the Alliance of Health Workers, to determine the most effective ways that we can be of assistance." The Alliance of Health Workers and National Nurses United are both members of Global Nurses United, an international network of nurses' organizations established last summer.

"RNRN maintains its commitment to help the people of the Philippines heal and rebuild after this disaster. Our teams provide a continuous assessment of the needs on the ground, and we will work to provide what is most needed," said Castillo.

NOTE TO MEDIA: RN volunteers are available for interviews. Contact (510)273-2264 to make arrangements

Diane McClure
RNRN volunteer Diane McClure (L) in Estancia where 500 patients were seen.

Child drawing
As part of stress relief therapy, a child works on a drawing of the home she lost in the typhoon.

Elena Dahl
RNRN Volunteer Elena Dahl RN with one of the younger patients in Estancia

Joining McClure was volunteer Ireneo Jore, an RN at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, and originally from Roxas City, where he practiced as a family physician. “I was glad to be part of this opportunity to help the victims of this horrific calamity in my own home town” said Jore, who now lives in Manhattan. Jore has 10 siblings, five of whom live in Roxas City and lost their homes in the disaster.

Jore, McClure and the others returning this week followed in the footsteps of the RNRN volunteers who have been providing basic medical care at a city health clinic in and around Roxas, and other sites in the Philippines.

The RNRN volunteers have worked in conjunction with local public health officials, physicians, a church and other community supporters, providing wound care, giving tetanus and other shots, offering critical stress debriefings, and other basic care.

National Nurses United invites the public to contribute to the effort at www.sendanurse.org

RNRN, a project of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of RNs, was formed in 2004 in the aftermath of the South Asia tsunami in 2004, when the need for nurses was not being met by traditional disaster relief organizations. Since that time RNRN has send hundreds of direct-care nurse volunteers to assist following Hurricane Katrina, the massive earthquake in Haiti, and Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

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