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Monday, September 28, 2009

JSOTF-P assists in rescue efforts during Manila flooding

By Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly
Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines Public Affairs
MANILA- Members of Joint Special Operations Task Force- Philippines assisted the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the rescue of 52 people affected by massive flooding during Tropical Storm Ondoy, (known as internationally as Ketsana) in Cainta, Metro Manila Sept. 27-28.

Navy SEAL Teams One and Seven, Naval Special Boat Teams 12 and 20, and U.S. medical personnel attached to JSOTF-P worked directly with AFP and the Philippines National Disaster Coordinating Council, rescuing people from rooftops, delivering food, and giving out medical supplies.

Rescue teams from JSOTF-P launched two F470 Zodiac boats in the flood waters of Cainta and worked through the night transporting people to schools, churches, and evacuation shelters. Teams also assisted with the rescue of a pregnant Filipino woman in labor, stranded in a flooded-out house.

"These people lost their houses, cars and might still be looking for family members. I wanted to do anything and everything I could do to help the Filipino people. I was glad I could be a part of the rescue efforts, “said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Jonathan Porter. Porter was a JSOTF-P medic on scene to provide direct medical care.

According to Philippines Disaster Management Services, the floods displaced hundreds of thousands of people and the most recent reports indicate that there are more than 100,000 people who have been relocated.

“The work the U.S. military did was terrific,” said Roman Romulo, Pasig City Congressman. “I was very thankful for U.S. support. Your teams were able to successfully go to Santa Lucia High School to help deliver food. It was a big boost that your people were helping us.”

On Sept. 26, JSOTF-P teams delivered 500 pounds of food to Santa Lucia high school. Additionally the following day, a civilian helicopter contracted by JSOTF-P unloaded and distributed an additional 4,000 pounds of food and water in Canita, northeast of Pasig city.

The response to Ondoy was a collaborative effort among Philippine civilian governmental agencies, the AFP, the people affected and assistance from Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines.

“I don’t think we could have done anything without the help of the Filipinos. They were just great in helping us. They had translators, guides, “ said Porter.“They were able to tell us where to go. When we were looking for a house, the police and local citizens would help us and the rescue was a collaborative effort among governmental agencies and the people affected,” he said.

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