UP to send medical, technical teams to E. Visayas campuses hit by Yolanda | Inquirer News
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UP to send medical, technical teams to E. Visayas campuses hit by Yolanda

/ 06:45 PM November 17, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines will be sending medical and technical teams to its heavily damaged campuses in the Eastern Visayas in the aftermath of monster typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).

A Pahinungod medical team from U.P. Manila, led by Dr. Eric Talens, left on Sunday to provide emergency medical assistance to constituents in the Palo, Leyte campus.

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Earlier, Dr. Racquel Fortun spearheaded a forensics team now working with the Department of Health, the International Red Cross and the Asia Foundation in handling the management of bodies in Leyte and Samar.

In a statement, U.P. President Alfredo Pascual said two U.P. campuses in Eastern Visayas were badly damaged when the monster typhoon hit on Nov. 8.

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These are the U.P. Visayas Tacloban College campus, which has 1,543 constituents, and the U.P. Manila School of Health Sciences in Palo, Leyte, which has 209 constituents.

The state university will also deploy a technical team of UP experts in civil engineering, architecture, urban planning, and geohazard assessment.

The team, to be headed by former Architecture dean Dan Silvestre, will evaluate the damaged physical infrastructure and facilities of the Tacloban and Palo campuses for future rehabilitation.

“We will continue to work with the authorities on the ground to offer the services of our medical, forensics, and technical experts in the areas that are not covered by other government agencies,” Pascual said.

The U.P. president added that there was no fatality among the students, faculty and staff in the campuses.

“We will continue to seek and assist all the affected members of our academic community until we know everyone in need of assistance been provided with aid,” he said.

Last week, Pascual ordered the heads of the U.P. campuses in Diliman, Manila, Baguio, Los Baños, Mindanao, Iloilo and Cebu to accommodate and waive requirements for affected students from the Tacloban campus who wish to cross-register in their respective campuses for the second semester.

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He said a number of students from Tacloban have already signed up to cross-register in Diliman, Manila, Cebu, and Iloilo, while Los Baños has offered dormitory accommodation and living allowance to at least 100 cross-registrants.

On Nov. 14, U.P. Visayas chancellor Rommel Espinosa sent a four-man reconnaissance team to inspect the Tacloban campus and bring money for the faculty and staff.

U.P. Manila School of Health Sciences dean Buddy Dastura also returned to Palo that day to assess and assist the campus’ constituents.

Early last week, the state university organized a disaster relief effort under the guidance of the vice president for public affairs, Dr. Prospero de Vera. The relief effort accepted donations in cash and in kind.

By the afternoon of Nov. 11, students, faculty and staff in U.P. Diliman had already prepared 1,000 relief packs, which were sent to Tacloban through a C-130 airplane of the Philippine Air Force.

The U.P. Diliman Student Council also shipped out several boxes of donated clothes and other goods, while the U.P. Los Baños campus dispatched a truckload of relief goods.

Pascual also thanked Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III for his P 100,000 cash donation and P100,000 worth of medicines.

“In the wake of this devastation, we are given an unparalleled chance to start again. When we rebuild our towns and cities, we can take the opportunity to make them better, smarter, more resilient and more sustainable,” Pascual said.

He also urged the U.P. community to help locate, reach out and help the students, faculty, staff and their families in the affected areas.

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