Luis Matnog, a native of the Philippines, has been in the U.S. for 10 years working for the American Red Cross in Boston. Now he has returned home to help direct relief efforts after Typhoon Haiyan cut a swath of devastation through the nation.
“This will be emotional,” Matnog said. “I am very proud to be serving my home country with the Red Cross.”
Matnog is the territory manager for disaster relief in Boston, the busiest sector of the Red Cross in Massachusetts. Since deploying on Wednesday, Matnog has chronicled his work in the Philippines on Twitter.
“I’m honored to lead the ERU-Relief teams around the world to support the @philredcross relief operation,” he posted on Saturday. ERU stands for Emergency Relief Unit. His posts capture the packing, organization and distribution of relief supplies in the country.
To date, ten American Red Cross staff have deployed to the Philippines, including a shelter specialist, a five-person team focused on relief distribution and specialists in telecommunications and disaster assessment.
Specialized emergency response teams from other Red Cross societies across the globe are arriving in the Philippines to assist the Philippine Red Cross. These include teams with expertise in logistics, disaster assessment, shelter, health, water and sanitation.
Matnog worked with relief agencies for years in the Philippines before following his wife to the U.S. After joining the Red Cross, he began to train with international responders, taking assignments in logistics support in Asia and Africa. His last big deployment was to Haiti where he slept in a tent for a month while helping move relief supplies after the earthquake in 2010.
Nationally, he helped manage the fleet of trucks and cars that came to New York’s aid during Superstorm Sandy and the logistics for relief and support during the Boston Marathon Bombing.
HOW TO HELP Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS to donate to typhoon relief. People can also mail in a donation to their local Red Cross chapter. Gifts to the American Red Cross will support disaster relief efforts to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.