On Wednesday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported the arrival of disaster relief experts from Japan and a 25 strong medical team to help the victims of typhoon Yolanda: three doctors, seven nurses, two pharmacists, five medical coordinators and officials from JICA and the Japanese Foreign Ministry. 400 health workers from different countries are now in the Philippines, according to the Department of Health.
The Inquirer article continues:
“We will never forget what the Philippines did for us in 2011,” said Kenzo Iwakami of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica), team leader of the Japanese medical mission. He was referring to the Philippine contribution to relief efforts following the 9-magnitude earthquake that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, which triggered a tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people.
The Department of Health sent a team of Filipino doctors to help provide emergency medical assistance to tsunami victims, including counseling to those shaken by the disaster, said Minister Akio Isomata of the Japanese Embassy in Manila. He echoed Iwakami and said in a separate interview: “We will never forget that.”
“This time, we have to help you. Because two years ago, you helped us. So this time, this is our turn,” said Dr. Joji Tomioka, subleader and medical coordinator for Jica’s medical team for disaster relief. Both have worked in Japanese medical and search and rescue missions in previous natural disasters. Iwakami worked in Phuket, Thailand in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami while Tomioka has experience in medical missions during calamities in many parts of the world.
Other countries dispatching humanitarian missions to the Philippines include Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Israel and the United States.