Powerful images taken by American volunteers who were among the first to respond shortly after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Central Philippines are now on exhibit at the Philippine Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue.
“Operation: Seabird—the Photography of Team Rubicon” is a collection of 20 moving photographs taken by Kirk Jackson and other Rubicon members during their deployment to Leyte a few days after Typhoon Haiyan, leaving more than 6,000 people dead and scores more missing and injured.
“The exhibit is a visual narrative of the commendable efforts undertaken by volunteers from Team Rubicon and Mammoth Medical Missions who rushed to the Philippines to help even before the world saw the first images of the extent of Typhoon Haiyan’s fury,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said in his remarks during the opening of the exhibit.
The photographs, which will be on exhibit at the Romulo Hall until 31 January, captured volunteers from Team Rubicon and Mammoth Medical Missions in action as they performed lifesaving surgeries, distributed aid and extended other forms of assistance to the still dazed residents of the devastated town of Tanauan and neighboring communities in Leyte.
“Mammoth and Rubicon were the first foreign medical teams on the ground. They were there just a few days after Haiyan unleashed violent winds that tore apart houses and virulent waves that swallowed hundreds of helpless men, women and children,” Ambassador Cuisia said as he paid tribute to members of the two groups whom the Embassy assisted in their deployment to the Philippines.
“These photographs bring us there to let us see and perhaps feel what they experienced when they were there,” Ambassador Cuisia said, adding that he personally saw the extent of the devastation when he accompanied Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Tacloban last month.
“We are holding this photo exhibit to remind all of us about the need to always remember what happened during the deadly rampage of the most violent storm to hit the planet in modern history and the difficult task of reconstruction ahead,” Ambassador Cuisia said.
“We are also holding it to remind our own people of the debt of gratitude we owe our friends here in the United States and the international community for their efforts to help bring the people of Leyte and other affected areas in the Central Philippines back on their feet,” Ambassador Cuisia said.