Rebuild Lives In The Philippines

by Comprehensive Disaster Response Services
Apr 1, 2014

Delivering Meals and Rebuilding Homes

Generator for Bantayan Island
Generator for Bantayan Island

CDRS Relief Mission Part 2
CDRS sent Team Member Jim Kushner to The Philippines to manage the logistics for distrbuting 1.6 millions meals and link up with relief worker Brian Lydon, who was already running a relief and reconstruction mission with several partners on Leyte Island. A trusted partner in many relief missions, Alison Thompson of The Third Wave, introduced CDRS to Brian's work on Leyte. Jim arrived a few weeks after my deploymen in Mission Part 1 ended (See below for info and links to photos and info from Part 1 of the mission). Jim successfully managed the clearing of the containers with the 1.6 million meals (donated by US charity Outreach and packed by Rotary clubs in Iowa) from the port of Cebu. 800,000 meals were distributed by other organizations in Cebu and Jim shipped the other 800,000 meals to Leyte for distribution with Brian and his local team. Each meal packet contained enough rice, macaroni, soy beans, dehydrated vegetables with vitamins and menerals to feed a family of 5-8 people.

Outreach and other donors paid for the US / international shipping costs from Iowa to Cebu, and CDRS used Global Giving funding to pay the clearing/customs/port charges for the containers, the shipping of 800,000 meals to Leyte, and the trucks & fuel to distribute the food to several towns and villages in Leyte (including Tacloban, Ormoc, Hindang, Tobuc and San Antonio). CDRS used a second disbursement of Global Giving funding to purchase bamboo, lumber, nails and metal sheeting to rebuild homes in San Antonio, Handang and Tuboc. (Photos of Part 2 included with this report). CDRS also utilized Global Giving funding to purchase building supplies, tools and a generator for Bantayan Island.
(Please see more photos of Mission Part 2 here:

CDRS Typhoon Haiyan Relief Mission Part 1

1) Getting Cranked Up:

These photos are a collection of moments in my efforts (with my assistants TJ Shea and Gulmina Mahmud) to assist The People Of The Philippines with key partners and collaborators Empact NW, Fuel Relief Fund, The Rotarians of New York City and The Philippines, The Tacloban Mayor's Office, The Special Action Force of The National Police, The Honorable Filipino Consul General to Estonia Fernando Peña - and assisted with air transport by the U.S. forces out of Okinawa and logistical / informational support by my friends at UN OCHA

2) Typhoon Relief Mission to Bantayan Island

This album of photos represents some of our efforts to assist victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan. My dear friend and much accomplished fellow relief worker 
Alison Thompson(who I've had the honor to work with in Haiti and Sri Lanka) sent me a detailed report about the great need on remote and tiny Bantayan Island while my team and I were working on logistics for relief cargo and medical teams in coordination with partners EMPACT NY. With generous assistance from Rotary Club Members in The U.S. and The Philippines, we rented a truck in Cebu City and brought a load of relief supplies (donated by ABS/CBN and disaster relief associate Ron Hose) to a devastated village named Ocoy (Mermaid) on Bantayan Island who leaders Alison had put me in contact with. We faced many obstacles to get there, including the truck breaking down on the way, a five hour drive from Cebu City and a two hour ferry ride from Cebu Island to get to Bantayan Island. But it was more than worth the effort, as we delivered the first relief that the People of Ocoy had received since the storm hit (according to Alison and our great hosts Nonoy and Pedong Espinosa). 55 families from Ocoy plus an additional 300 people from neighboring villages each received one or two bags of clothing (depending on the size of the family), diapers / hygiene products and a week's worth of rice, canned goods, yogurt, dry milk, biscuits, cookies and bottled water. The people were very thankful and when we left there were a whole lot of smiles, especially on the faces of the children. It was a truly wonderful and inspiring two days, mostly due to the love and appreciation we received from the People of Bantayan Island, who were determined to rebuild from this devastating storm

3) Mission Impossible: Getting Aid to Victims The CDRS Way

Getting aid to disaster victims quickly is almost never inexpensive. Either you pay dearly to get the job done right away, or you save money and get the job done very slowly. CDRS got the job done fast and at a very low cost, in fact the lowest cost possible. Here's how... 

While working with my team on logistics, meeting with local Rotary leaders and collecting information in Cebu for our efforts to arrange aid being sent by Rotarians of Rotary District 7230 (New York City and Westchester County), I received a call from our key partner Empact Northwest/Disaster Response Northwest who were working in Tacloban. They were contacting me on behalf of Ron Hose, a relief worker they were coordinating with, to ask for assistance in finding and delivering a container full of food and water that was stuck at the port in Cebu City and needed to be delivered to victims of the Typhoon the next 36 hours. Within minutes, Team CDRS was on the job and creating effectiveness in an extremely challenging logistical environment. The fact was that this was going to be a tough job because a) the system of trucks and ferries to all the many islands was completely backed up and overwhelmed at the port and b) Finding trucks at that time (even at an unreasonable price) was going to be nearly impossible, and that's not even considering the reality of fuel being costly and in very short supply. But finding a truck at a reasonable price, with fuel and driver for a time specific mission was almost going to take a miracle. But we took on the challenge and doors began to open- not easily, but in the end we made it happen and the aid got delivered to those who needed it. Here's the short version of how we did it:

Thanks to a very knowledgeable local taxi driver, I was able to find a great company named NES Trucking and procure two trucks from them which saved the mission and allowed aid to be delivered to several places, including Tacloban, Samar and Bantayan Islanad (The trucks were provided to us at an unbelievably cheap flat rate of 40,000 Pesos- 900 US Dollars- for BOTH trucks WITH driver AND fuel for use during the entire mission with delivering that particular cargo). All of the other trucking companies we talked to were charging double this rate or more AND charging that amount daily for ONE TRUCK, not including the fuel and more expensive ferry charges associated with the larger trucks which actually carry the whole container. In order to do this, we had to unload the container and put the cargo into the two box trucks. One large truck would not have been the right tool for the job anyway. 

Ron took a flight to Cebu from Tacloban and we together we spent the day running around planning, making calls, doing paperwork, brainstorming and arranging logistics all with the sole purpose of getting the aid in several remote places where it needed to go as soon as possible in a nearly impossible situation. All in extreme heat and humidity. It wasn't easy but that what we we there for. As always, CDRS got the job done with a little help from our friends and the aid was delivered. 

Off-loading meals from the shipping containers
Off-loading meals from the shipping containers
Loading meals for distribution in villages
Loading meals for distribution in villages
Jim Kushner delivering meals to typhoon victims
Jim Kushner delivering meals to typhoon victims
Children carrying meals to their families
Children carrying meals to their families
Rebuilding homes
Rebuilding homes

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Organization Information

Comprehensive Disaster Response Services

Location: New York - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Todd Shea
Executive Director
Islamabad, Punjab Pakistan

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