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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


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11.19.13         philippines disaster relief effort  

Michael in the Philippine's Update #4: Hustle & Go


Things are absolutely crazy here. Saw several bodies this morning on the side of the road. I did not feel right about taking pictures.

The 2 big things that are hard to find in Tacloban are clean water and fuel. Let's put it this way, I'm drinking the water I brought with me.

Any water supplies has to be trucked in from cities 2 hours away. Think about that...something we totally take for granted until it's no longer available.

Gas is getting easier to find. Food is a bit of a concern, I personally have enough for myself for 3 weeks and I share when it is appropriate, but the members are mostly eating rice. I would say they have a couple days left, but know more is coming, we just have to hustle in the mean time with these food runs, and oh man...are we hustling.

We woke up at 5am to drive 2 hours north to pick up food supplies with the Salvation Army who is feeding the stranded survivors at the Tacloban airport. The SA only has one big truck, but has plenty of Fuel. We have four SUVs, struggle to get fuel. We decided to team up and help each other out.

The lines for banks are ridiculous at these supply towns, we decided it was easier to have someone in the US wire money to relocated church members here who needed it.

In addition to helping short term needs, we are also hustling for long term needs and the church is working with the SA to help make a pretty big food delivery happen. I can't be specific for security reasons, but a lot of food is literally on it's way. We will help distribute this in the next week or so.

We almost partnered up with another huge group this afternoon for storage space, but they found other arrangements. It's so interesting to me how some groups work so well together.

Others only want to communicate when you have an asset they want and the instant they find another resource, they dump you as quickly as possible. One night it will be "oh yes please, we need your help. We will be so so grateful" and the next day it is "meh...we don't need you."

It's something I've seen many times on these trips and I'm learning it is better to keep all bridges and options open, because you might need them in the future. If someone back stabs me in the field (which does happen) I wont soon forget that. There are other groups that are just amazing to working with.

We have 4 SUVs that work, each of which has something wrong.

For example, one (lets call it truck 1- might have clutch problems, you never know when it will stop working.

Another lets call it truck 2, might have no AC, and a tinted front wind shield you can't see out of at night when lights hit it and make it opaque. Truck 2 also lacks a horn so you can't tell road side travelers you are coming. It's high beams are also stuck on. But mechanically, it works fine.

Truck 3 is a small flat bed, but you have to use a battery from Truck 1 in order for it to work. Also it's has tank is not easily filled due to just how it was constructed. It is also very old.

We took truck 2 from Tacloban to Ormoc to pick up water and tarps for Tacloban. Andoi was driving, but everytime a vehicle in the opposite lane approached, we literally can't see anything, so I ended up leaning my head out the window to warn him if he is about to crash into a downed pole or debris. He drives almost blindly following directions. We did this for the whole 2 hours, but made it to Ormoc safe.

We arrived at the dock to pick up water sent over from the members in Cebu, but there was more than we could fit, so we loaded up what we could and Andoi took it to the church in Ormoc, while I stayed alone watching the rest. We were too late finishing so we have decided to crash in Ormoc for the night. We are literally sleeping on the floor in the chapel. There are many members sleeping in other parts of the church. I'm feeling bugs crawl on me as I type this into my iPhone.

This morning Cameron and Kimball Larson from Idaho sent me some money, so on the way home their donation will keep our cars running for the next 4-5 days. Thank you Larson brothers! I have a video clip showing the purchase coming soon.
This used to be a river. #tacloban

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