TACLOBAN CITY- Over 1,000 survivors of supertyphoon “Yolanda” from Borongan City and nearby towns benefited from a two-day medical mission conducted by New York-based groups of Filipino-Americans. The medical mission initiated by the Friends Indeed and Philippine Hearts and Hopes Association was held at the Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital in Borongan where several medical equipment and medical supplies were donated by them after their medical mission held from February 2 to 3. The more than 1,000 beneficiaries from Borongan and nearby towns, which were also recently hit by typhoon “Ruby” last December, were four doctors from the humanitarian groups and by their local counterparts.

Miss Teen Philippines- USA 2014 Samantha Abaya-Campos, 17, whose parents are from Luzon but now based in New York, said that she was overwhelmed and touched by the resiliency of the people to return to their normal lives after the devastation they endured during the onslaught of Yolanda and later by Ruby.

The New York-based beauty queen attended the medical mission as part of her “prize” in winning the beauty title which is now on its 10th year. “I just tell them not to give up and never lose hope,” she said, referring to the typhoon survivors who availed of the medical mission, first ever conducted by the two humanitarian groups. Aside from providing medical services, the Friends Indeed and the Philippine Hearts and Hopes Association also gave foods, toys and used clothing to the beneficiaries.

They also went to Sulat town where they gave food packs and P300 cash to 40 families living in one of the remote villages of the town. The group was able to conduct their medical mission through the assistance of Board Member Karen Alvarez. Doctor Rebecca Rivera, head of the mission, said that they were just happy to conduct their mission in Eastern Samar. “It is always gratifying to help people (who have less in life),” she said.

The group’s president Lito Pena also said that it was their second visit to Eastern Samar after it was severely hit by Yolanda. “It was almost perfect because of the (huge) turn out of the people. Last year, when we were here, we were crying. But more than a year, there is now a big difference; live goes on (for them),” Pena said. (JOEY A. GABIETA)