Helpers Returned Home

2013. november 29., péntek

"The help we provided is just a few drops in the ocean, but for those we helped, it meant everything," said Daniel Osgyán, director of Emergency Response for the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid (HRCA), who returned 22 November with a group of doctors from the typhoon ravaged Philippines. The team of seven treated and supported those in need for eleven days and nights. After their return, a press conference was immediately held in the RCH Synod Office.

"Saying thanks God we can greet our brothers and sisters who departed for the first call to help the disaster victims as a member of the HRCA response group." Bishop Gusztáv Bölcskei greeted the team after their arrival home following grueling days in Talcoban, Leyte. He pointed out that the collaboration which also started now is a consistent attitude of the Church, that there be in trouble within. "As a Swiss theologian said, who feels hunger and does not know God, God must first be shown to them in the form of bread. If disaster strikes, the Church must show faith and help those in need," said the bishop.

Jerry Pillay, the president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches from South Africa, took the floor from Bölcskei and also briefly greeted the team. "Allow me to express my gratitude to be in Hungary now, when the medical team is back! There is a great joy in my heart when I see how the local church was able to help the victims. When I saw this devastating tragedy on TV, it caused great pain. I told my wife that I want to be there. The presence of the Church in such situations is essential, because as Christians we are called to give compassion, solidarity to those who are suffering in need," he said. He also expressed how deeply touched he was by the fact that the RCH was so seriously involved in the emergency response, rather than saying that this is the Philippine's problem and far away. Pillay explained that the World Communion of Reformed Churches as an organization often cannot participate in such actions, but through the experience of its member churches see these difficult situations, and through them they could be a direct participant to the contribution.

Osgyán, regarding their stay in the Philippines, said that they were touched by the experiences that they will never forget. In the pictures, everyone can see how much devastation the typhoon caused, but they could also be a witness to how the people try to survive and continue their daily lives in what is left of their environment. He stated that they could bring equipment, which ensured not only their presence there but also effective work. On the last day, they reached Tanau where there was no permanent medical service, but team members provided care in the streets. "The help we provided is just a few drops in the ocean, but for those we helped, it meant everything," he said.

The team arrived in the Philippines on 12 November to unknown conditions and obtained their task from the UN resident co-ordination: help re-opening of a hospital, which was not damaged by the typhoon but looted as an effect of the terrible living conditions caused by the typhoon. They had to develop a walk-in clinic where the HRCA team initially worked. They did most of the work, and gradually others took over their tasks, Ferenc Sári, head of the medical team, explained in his report. “The team was on duty for twenty-four hours, often being sought in urgent cases.” The doctor continued, “We can say that by the time we left the hospital was able to function. We saw many patients and checked their medical history, but I do not want to say numbers because it’s not a competition between the groups, but about providing free, on the spot medical care. We treated infected wounds and often chronic patients, examined onsite medical images. It was a hard, but nice job.”

Additionally, in support of the HRCA, a charity concert organized for typhoon survivors was held on 23 November at Becketts Irish Bar in Budapest.



Translated by Katalin Soós

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