(NECN: Mike Cronin) – Luis Matnog embarked on a 24-hour journey to the Philippines from Boston’s Logan Airport Saturday night.
He has worked with the Red Cross for 15 years, assisting with disaster worldwide, including the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. But the disaster in the Philippines has special meaning to him.
He’s from there.
One of the strongest storms ever recorded slammed the Philippines Friday, Typhoon Haiyan, destroying buildings and killing as many as 1,200, according to the Red Cross.
Matnog said, “The folks there are resilient.”
Matnog is on the Red Cross’s international disaster response team. A Malden, Mass. resident, he said he’s the only Mass. responder heading to the Philippines Saturday night.
“It will be emotional and it will be memorable for me because it’s now that I’m helping my own home country,” he said.
He will be there at least a month. He’ll coordinate relief efforts between agencies and has all the tools to do it.
He has camping equipment, electronics and ready-to-eat meals, all necessary, because he doesn’t know if those items will be available in the disaster area.
Matnog said he feels sad watching devastation hit his home country, but knows once he gets there he can’t let his emotions get to him.