The Philippines is no stranger to strong winds and rain. Last November brought the largest Typhoon to ever hit landfall and Mercy In Action responded to the disaster with emergency medical and maternity tents to provide care in the areas hardest hit. Although we have not experienced a typhoon of that magnitude since, we still continue to experience typhoons and storms that are strong enough to wash away roads and homes. This poses a particularly dangerous situation for childbearing women who are most vulnerable if they go into labor during the peak of a storm. Therefore, it is no surprise that our clinic has been unusually busy this last week as Typhoon Henry (Matmo) approached, uprooting trees and flooding roads. Many expectant mothers came to our clinic seeking refuge before either their labor or the storm became too intense. And because our clinic stands, with a strong foundation and many beds, those women were able to receive kind and capable care while the rains came down outside.
It is because of the kind donations of strangers that our clinic is able to be that safe place in the storm. Mercy In Action and the families we serve thank you for your support
One of the most heart touching things that started happening in the disaster zone here in the Philippines last November and December was when survivors started putting up hand-painted signs to thank the international community who responded to the massive disaster caused by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.
One of the signs thanked all of the international community who came to help, and then said simply “Please don’t forget us; please do not grow sick and tired of us until we have made a full recovery.”
Mercy In Action is helping in that recovery. We remember the beautiful women we midwifed who gave birth in tents in the immediate aftermath of that terrible storm, and are now raising those babies in the rubble. We remember the brave midwives, nurses and doctors who fought and are still fighting to save lives against incredible odds, and are now going to be receiving training to international standards in updated best practices in maternity care. We remember the smashed buildings, the massive destruction caused by the storm, even as we are helping to rebuild clinics and birth centers.
Our goal now is to make sure every pregnant woman will have a well-trained midwife available to her when she delivers, in a community where clinics, birth centers, and hospitals are again available. We are working toward recovery in the disaster zone; toward restoration in the rebuilding effort. We want the survivors to know that they are not alone, and that there is no way that we could forget them. Please join us in this rebuilding time, a time of recovery, hope, and new life.
Today the roof is going on...
Nerissa's clinic and birth center, destroyed by Super Typhoon Haiyan 6 months ago, is, like a phoenix, rising from the ashes. Nerissa says" We are so thankful for the help. We want to work hard, we just need help!" She and her husband Alex put up a sign at the construction site, declaring that they will again be saving lives on this site. Rather than a broken memorial to a terrible tragedy, the site will once again have a birth center where mothers and babies will have a safe haven. Nerissa and Alex and their three children have been living in a tent since the storm. They do not ask for a house for themselves, only that the community clinic be rebuilt so that she can once again work in service to their neighbors.
Mercy In Action, partnered with Global Giving and each of you individually, are helping the typhoon survivors in the very best way we can at this point; by helping them rebuild their shattered lives and places of work. The birth center that was destroyed was a community-gathering place. It was an area landmark. It was the place hundreds of newborn babies took their first breath. And the patients are coming back, more each day, to gaze at the construction, to tell stories of what the clinic in their community means to them, to hope beyond hope that it will be finished in time for those who are now pregnant to be able to give birth there. Doctors Without Borders has left the community now; it is up to the locals to provide for their own health care needs again. And we need to get this safe place to give birth build and functional for the next generation.
We brought it this far. To complete the finish work, the doors, windows, and floor tiles, we will need your help. To furnish the inside with a birth bed, desk and chairs, to equip the clinic again with medical equipment and supplies, we need your help.
Lets do this together; lets get this place of Life and Light to the devastated community back up and running. Now is the time. The pregnant women cannot wait...
Today the rebar cornerpost are in. The wood frames are going up. There is LIFE and HOPE in the rebuilding!
Today a mother stopped by the construction site with her baby who had been delivered last year in Nerissa's birth center, before it was demolished by the wind and waves of the world's largest storm in November. This mother dreams of a time when the community will once again have a safe, clean, bright and pretty clinic for pregnant women to come to.Last November, Mercy In Action mounted an incredible Disaster Response. We loaded our ambulance in Olongapo with supplies and tents and drove (and ferried) to the island where unbelievable catastrophe has struck with Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. It was terrifying and brave and dramatic as we rushed into the ravaged countryside to bring maternity and medical care for the survivors. Thousands of patients were treated and hundreds of babies born in our make-shift tents at ground zero.
But now the time as has come to rebuild... to get the local people who survived the typhoon back on their feet.
One midwife we met in the disaster zone, Nerissa Cumpio, especially touched our hearts. She never asked for help; she just showed us her smashed birth center, and showed us pictures of what it had been before the disaster. She came to work in our tents to give her loving care to the battered survivors in the early aftermath of that terrible storm. She healed her own wounds of loss and grief as she cared for pregnant women who were hurting. Nerissa wrote me a text recently: "Thank you for the support and encouragement this is really a big help to us and to our community. I am overwhelmed. I am crying".
Mercy In Action has chosen to complete our disaster response by rebuild Nerissa's birth center. To make a lasting impact on the entire community as they recover from this immense tragedy. Lets do it together, for the survivors, for the future, for the next generation yet to be born.
Can you help? How can we work together to attract wider support for re-building this one birth center in the disaster zone? Would you be willing to tell your friends?
Thank you for your loving concern.
Nerissa Cumpio is a midwife who worked in a tidy and well-appointed birth center in her hometown, alongside her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, all Licensed Midwives. They had a busy practice, and made sure that women who did not have insurance or enough money to pay still got good care.
On November 8, Super Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) struck a deadly blow to her town. Not only was her birth center and home totally smashed by the waves, but her husband's uncle was washed out to sea and his body has never been recovered.
Thousands of people in Nerissa's hometown died that day. And the community was left without a safe place to deliver the babies being born every day in the region.
This week, Mercy In Action is going to start rebuilding Nerissa's birth center. We are going to take funds raised through Global Giving and being the rebuilding process, not only for one midwife, but for the pregnant women of an entire community.
Nerissa expressed "I was so hopeless in the month after the storm destroyed our lives, until I met Mercy In Action. Now I can see the future again".
Nerissa has been working in the tents set up by Mercy In Action last November, but soon she will be a community midwife again, a valuable and integral part of the recovery for her town, her region, and her country.
In the disaster zone, they have a phrase. Bangon Leyte. It means Rise up, island of Leyte! We will recover! This storm, as terrible as it was, will not keep us down. And now it is the time for Nerissa and her family to Bangon Cumpios! Shine again as partnered together with Mercy In Action you rise again, to rebuild the community birth center and rebuild your lives.
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Subic Bay Freeport Zone,