Medical volunteers join landslide relief
Eight to 10 Hawaii medical professionals and lay volunteers will leave March 13 in an Aloha Medical Mission to the Philippines to assist victims of the Leyte province landslide, said Executive Director Butch Dela Cruz.
Dr. Vernon Ansdell, Kaiser Medical Center tropical disease specialist and frequent medical mission volunteer, will lead the group.
Aloha Medical Mission volunteers pay their own transportation and expenses, but donations are needed to buy medical supplies and equipment, said Dela Cruz.
The Congress of Visayan Organizations, headed by Margarita Hopkins, will hold a Leyte disaster fundraiser from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at Loulen's Restaurant, 1125 N. King St. Proceeds will be used for the Leyte mission.
"This is a wonderful event that aptly illustrates the generosity of the local Filipinos in Hawaii and the aloha spirit of the general Hawaii community," said Dr. Jorge Camara, who succeeded Dr. Ramon Sy last month as Aloha Medical Mission president.
He said 45 of the organization's 75 international missions have been to the Philippines, but this will be the first to Leyte province.
AMM has been sending supplies and equipment to the Philippines since the landslide buried an estimated 1,800 people last Friday in Guinsaugon village on Leyte island.
Nearly $18,000 was raised for landslide survivors at a fundraiser held Sunday at the Filipino Community Center.
Dela Cruz said the mission volunteers will take about 10 boxes of supplies with them. The Rice International Relief Organization, which has an office in Kaneohe, has been donating supplies, and more are needed, he said.
The Sunday event will be broadcast live over KNDI Radio's "Buhay Hawaii" program, hosted by Tony Sayagadoro and Lynne Gutierrez.
The Aloha Medical Mission is a nonprofit, federally tax-exempt organization that provides free medical and dental services to medically uninsured at a Honolulu clinic and sends missions to poor, remote areas overseas.
It has sent 3,000 volunteers on 75 missions to 10 countries since it was founded in 1983. They have treated about 190,000 patients and performed 8,900 surgeries without charge, Dela Cruz said.
How to help
» Donations to support the Leyte mission may be sent to the Aloha Medical Mission, 810 N. Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96817. Write "Southern Leyte Landslide" on the memo line.
» For more information, call Dela Cruz at 847-3400; Camara at 533-0177, or the following Congress of Visayan Organizations officials: Jun Colmenares, executive vice president, 586-7305, or John Dionisio Jr., vice president, 349-9319.