By JONATHAN LOBEL
In the aftermath of one of the world’s most powerful storms, an Ithaca firefighter has flown to the Philippines to aid search, rescue and recovery efforts.
Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines Oct. 8, killing more than 3,000 people and displacing thousands more throughout the country. James Wheal, an Ithaca firefighter, has teamed up with former Ithaca firefighter Jeff Goldberg to help with recovery efforts, according to a press release from the Ithaca Fire Department.
The team will spend its first night in Manila and then board a military plane to the relief zone with food, water, tents and medical supplies. Wheal and Goldberg will take four flights, spending more than 24 hours in the air, according to the press release.
The team’s goal is to establish an operations center and a field medical center to organize and help carry out search and rescue missions. The pair will also be able to provide immediate medical assistance to locals, according to the press release.
“We wish them luck and give our thanks to them for showing how Ithaca helps those in need, both here and abroad,” Thomas T. Basher, public information officer for the IFD, said in the press release.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the number of injuries stands at 12,544, while at least 1,186 people are missing. The death toll could continue to climb as search and rescue missions continue, the disaster council says.