Raleigh, N.C. — Volunteers with the North Carolina Baptist Men returned home Friday from a trip to assist natural disaster victims abroad.
“It was just heart-wrenching to see people having to deal with death and destruction,” said John Adams, one of the volunteers who traveled to Indonesia, a country hit hard by an earthquake on Sept. 30.
Indonesian officials said Friday the death toll from the quake on Sumatra island had reached 784, with little hope remaining for 242 people listed as missing.
Adams said volunteers traveled from one destroyed building to another, marking piles of debris where someone had died.
A couple days into their work, political conditions forced them to leave.
“Sometimes the host country is there to support us. Sometimes it is not,” Adams said.
Adams then traveled to the Philippines, where Cary firefighter Jack Frazier and two other Triangle residents were helping to provide medical care to desperate people.
“Some of them lost everything they had. Their entire house is washed away,” Frazier said.
Back-to-back storms caused some of the worst flooding there in 40 years. So far, 500 people there have died in rising water and mudslides.
“There was a lot of debris in the roads. Much of Manila was flooded up to the first floor in some areas,” Frazier said.
Frazier worked to set up make shift medical clinics, where lines for treatment were, at times, 50 people long. Peopled waited for treatment, while standing in more than a foot of water.
Frazier said a woman in her 70s, who suffered from congestive heart failure, walked through water to seek treatment. “I don’t know how far she came, but she was exhausted by the time she go to us,” Frazier said.