Theodore Held

As interviewed by Isaac Held, March 19, 2019

Theodore Held In His Own Words

Transcripted Interview
I am interviewing my dad about his experience in the Philippines helping victims of typhoon Haiyan.

What was the biggest problem you ran into and how did you avoid it?

When I went to the Philippines?


Well there were a number of problems, probably that, the biggest problem was the fact that we landed within 36 hours of the hurricane destroying the region of the Philippines where the hospital was, and therefore there was no electricity and no water, and it turns out its very hard to take care of sick people when there is no electricity and no water. So what we did for water was we set up stations to filter and boil water that we used on the sick patients and we weren't able to we had generators that we brought with us that would have produced electricity unfortunately there was no gasoline to run the generators because all of the gasoline in the Philippines was also wiped out by the typhoon, so we had to use flashlights and candles whenever we needed to operate on patients or see at night, so that's how we overcame the lack of electricity.

Ok, what were the conditions like in the hospitals?

Very, very bad, so the hospital that I worked at, as I mentioned didn’t have electricity or running water, and most of the windows had been destroyed by the wind, and the rooms have all been flooded, so they were covered with mud and muck and debris, so we actually weren’t able to do any work in the hospital for the first week or so while we were getting the hospital cleaned up. So therefore what we did was set up tents outside of the hospital, and we just strung up blue tarps on poles, and we operated, and women delivered their babies, and we treated the sick people outside under the tarps, rather than in the hospital because the hospital was destroyed.

When you came back the second time was the situation better? And by how much?

The situation was incredibly better the second time the hospital had been rebuilt and was actually better than the previous hospital. That foundation I mentioned the Su chi foundation was able to raise money, and so they built housing for a lot of the peoples in Carigara whose houses had been destroyed so people were able to find some work and make some money again, and there were still signs of destruction everywhere, but the society was working much better the second time around, and things were somewhat back to normal, so it was much, much better, plus there was electricity which was great, because that meant there was air conditioning, which there wasn’t in the middle of the disaster, it was really, really hot, and sweaty especially at night, with no air conditioning or even a fan, because there was no electricity.