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Bay Area Nurses Departing For Typhoon Relief In Philippines

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Residents covering their noses due to cadavers smell queue up to charge their mobile phones at the city hall in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on November 14, 2013, six days after Super Typhoon Haiyan unleashed its fury. United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said November 14 that aid must reach desperate Philippine typhoon survivors more quickly, amid reports of hunger and thirst in stricken neighborhoods. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

Residents covering their noses due to cadavers smell queue up to charge their mobile phones at the city hall in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on November 14, 2013, six days after Super Typhoon Haiyan unleashed its fury. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

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Typhoon Haiyan
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A group of nurses from the Registered Nurse Response Network were set to depart from San Francisco International Airport Thursday night for the Philippines to help provide relief to victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

Sacramento resident Marti Smith, a government relations lead at the California Nurses Association, will be part of the network’s first group from the U.S. to go to the Philippines.

Smith did medical mission work in Mexico for 20 years, and has helped out in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy last year and the Haiti earthquake of 2010.

While she is familiar with environments plagued by disasters, she said, “You never know what you’re going to find until you get there.”

The group will be meeting with members of its sister organization, Filipino Health Workers Association, in Manila and will then travel to the Visayas region of the country, Smith said.

“What we’re hearing is that there are thousands more patients than nurses to care for them,” she said.

One of the issues that concern Smith is that many medical facilities have been destroyed or are without personnel, she said.

Smith said other issues that may arise include the spread of tropical diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

About 1,000 nurses from RNRN nationwide have volunteered to travel to the Philippines and provide their services, Smith said.

“On a larger standpoint as a nurse, we get our training to help people, and when we look at these kind of events, the opportunity to go and be a part of helping is amazing,” she said.

Any nurses interested in volunteering with RNRN may do so through their website at www.rnresponsenetwork.org. Donations to the RNRN can be made at www.nationalnursesunited.org

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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