KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia's medical aid team has arrived in Manila, en route to the eastern region of Luzon, where more than 1,500 people have died or had been missing after tropical storms wreaked havoc on the island.
The five-member team of Mercy Malaysia volunteers, headed by Sarawak chapter chairman Benjamin Chai left yesterday morning and arrived in Manila later in the day.
They will be flown from Manilas Villamor air base in a military aircraft to the affected areas today.
Included in the team are a general surgeon, two medical officers and a psychologist, who will be heading to the towns of Dingalen and Baler in Aurora province.
Upon their arrival there, the team would carry out a rapid assessment of the current situation and provide emergency medical relief.
They will work with the Asian Disaster Response and Reduction Network and local non-governmental organisation Kapwa Ko Mahal Ko.
Luzon was battered by four tropical storms in two weeks in late November and early December that also left 300,000 people homeless.
Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood said that the deployment of the medical team was crucial as they would be going to the worst hit areas where not many NGOs had reached.
The Mercy Malaysia team was taking along with them RM10,000 worth of medical supplies as well as toys for the children in the affected areas, she said.
Mercy Malaysia has set aside RM50,000 from its emergency humanitarian fund for the Philippines Food Relief while Pharmaniaga Bhd provided the medical supplies and the toys.
Public donations can be made to the Mercy Malaysia Humanitarian Fund (write Philippines Appeal Maybank account No 5621 79504126 on the reverse side of the cheque). All donations are tax-exempted.