MALDEN (CBS) — Louis Matnog of Malden, a Red Cross international disaster worker, is flying to the Philippines for a month-long relief effort after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the country.
The typhoon is one of the largest tropical storms ever recorded and has claimed at least 1,o00 lives in the Philippines.
“This is huge,” Matnog said as he packed disaster supplies Saturday in preparation for his relief mission. “The impact of this is really hard for them to face right now.”
“It’s survival … flooding … plus the wind they have experienced … the rainfalls and everything,” he said.
The Malden man’s long trip to the Philippines began Saturday night at Logan International Airport. When he arrives at the Philippines, which is composed of more than 7,000 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, he will witness a landscape that has endured 200 mph winds, 20-foot waves and severe flooding.
It would be a troubling experience for anyone, but Matnog is sure to be deeply moved. Work with the Red Cross has taken him around the world, but this trip is taking him back to his birthplace.
“It’s my home country,” he said, noting his family members are OK. “I’ve seen a lot of devastation in the Philippines and it’s emotional, but it’s part of the job.”
It’s a job Matnog loves.
“Ever since I was small, I was talking with my father that when I grow up I need to have a job that actually helps people,” he said.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith contributed to this report.
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