Rescue Hovercraft Video
The Japanese are back, this time, well intentioned, most welcome and assisting relief efforts
Rescue Hovercraft Video – Fewer than 6 miles from the memorial commemorating the World War II landing of U.S. troops led by General Douglas MacArthur, who fulfilled his promise to return and liberate the Philippines from Japanese forces, the Japanese have returned, this time carrying a team from its Self Defence Force (SDF) to assist relief operations on the Philippines’ typhoon-devastated shores.
A Japanese team of about 30 SDF members, jeeps and a truck arrived on a beach in Tolosa. The city bore the brunt of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)’s tsunami-like surge, and hundreds of residents now live in evacuation centers and makeshift shelters after their homes were destroyed.
They’re ready to go,” said SDF colonel and head of the sanitation task force, Takehisa Asami.
Japan has more than 1,000 personnel in three naval warships on Leyte, marking one of the largest overseas relief operations conducted by the Japanese government. Its destroyer is carrying eight helicopters, and a tanker holding fuel, water and food supplies. Since the ships arrived last week, troops on board carried out fact-finding missions to devastated areas and have been distributing relief to remote villages using helicopters.
From Tolosa, the Japanese team brought pesticide to fumigate temporary shelters and evacuation centres in nearby Tacloban. “We’ve heard that there are many areas still with unsanitary conditions, and we want to do everything we can to help,” Asami said.
Fifteen members of the Ground Self Defence Force (GSDF) donned protective masks and canisters of pesticide, spraying down areas of Tacloban’s largest evacuation centre to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases. About 300 families live in the city’s coliseum-like convention center and many more have set up tents outside, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said.
Hiroshi Ito, a lieutenant with the GSDF and a member of the fumigation team, said he felt Japan’s mission to the Philippines was personal, because of its experience with the tsunami in 2009. “It really hit me that natural disasters are terrible things. Japan also experienced this during the Great East Japan Earthquake. So it would be wonderful for us Japanese if we could use that experience to help here,” Ito said.
Japan has provided 52.1 million US dollars in assistance to typhoon victims, in additional to medical relief teams and Self Defense Force units. The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan reached 5,240 as of Tuesday, while 1,613 are still missing.
The typhoon affected 9.9 million people, more than a tenth of the Philippine population. More than 356.8 million dollars in foreign aid has been pledged.