Back to ease agony 10 months later

Back to ease agony 10 months later
HELPING OUT: Mr Muhammad Shafiq with Red Cross patron President Tony Tan Keng Yam. He was telling Mr Tan about his experience with the Typhoon Bopha relief mission last year.

He was one of the first to embark on a relief mission to the Philippines when it was hit by Typhoon Bopha, which killed more than 280 people in December last year.

That was the first time Mr Muhammad Shafiq, 24, has seen such large-scale destruction.

Now, barely 10 months later, the recent chemistry graduate is set to go for another Singapore Red Cross (SRC) mission to earthquake-stricken Cebu and Bohol islands, again in the Philippines.

Mr Shafiq will leave today, with five team members.

This is part of an emergency relief effort to assess the situation and help local authorities, the SRC announced on Thursday.

Like the others in the team, he was notified only on Wednesday.

"I read about the earthquake in the papers and it looked bad," said Mr Shafiq, who is planning to take a course in disaster management and relief conducted by SRC.

"So when the Red Cross called me on Wednesday to go (for the mission), I immediately agreed. It's like being on an operationally-ready list."

He said: "I'm not there to help because I pity their poverty and suffering. I help because it is my duty to be there."

Another member of the team, Mr Chew Lip Heng, 47, said they do not even know what they will be doing yet, as formal briefings will be held only when the team hits the ground running.

The businessman had to convince his wife and daughter before agreeing to the mission.

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