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A ray of hope in the land of despair


A ray of hope in the land of despair


Support for restoration of 16 public facilities and medical treatment for a million


Support for students in damaged area and giving victims a dream of vocational education.


It has been 100 days since Araw unit, joint support group for the Philippines, started damage recovery. The unit has restored 16 facilities in Tacloban City, Leyte, and provided medical treatment for 1 million local residents.


MDN established the Araw unit on December 9 after prompt dispatch preparation, to help The Philippines in the area that was considerably damaged by super typhoon Haiyan. Araw means “The Sun comes after the darkness” in the local language, and the unit consists of tri-service and the Marine Corps as the first combined unit ever in overseas dispatch history.


The first group of the Araw unit departed Korea on December 21 with equipment and supplies on two LSTs. The main force arrived at Cebu airport, the Philippines, on the 27th and went on board those LSTs to move to Tabloban City, Leyte, where they would carry out their damage recovery missions. After passing local preparation work, the unit began full-scale operations, beginning with a welcoming ceremony on January 6.


During 100 days of the damage recovery operation, the unit has rebuilt 16 facilities including 10 elementary schools, five public facilities, and one hospital to a better level than before the damage. In particular, it performed combined recovery operations with the Philippine army for the first time among all disaster support units dispatched to The Philippines, so that it could reduce the construction period and solidify a relationship between the two countries as well.


In addition, in order to help war veterans of the Korean War who suffered damage in the typhoon, the unit has been operating a support task force for the veterans and carrying out projects such as housing restoration and medical support. It also awarded scholarships and certificates to students of schools already recovered or to be recovered by the unit. Through this constant support, the unit is sparing no efforts to maintain the dreams and hopes of the children to be a major part of The Philippines. Meanwhile, the victims may get certified as heavy equipment operators from the Philippines National Technical Qualification Institute, by attending the heavy equipment technical training at the vocational school operated by the Araw unit beginning on April 21.


In recognition of the unit’s hard work, Philippine President Benigno Aquino visited the operation site on February 25 and thanked the unit, saying “Thank you” in Korean.


Colonel Lee Cheol-won, the Commander of the Araw unit, said, “For the last 100 days, we planted seeds of hope with our efforts and passion while operating the damage recovery mission. We will do our best to make the Philippines remember Korea and the Araw unit within their hearts long after we leave.”


By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >
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