Ex-SAF man on mission to help the homeless

Ex-SAF man on mission to help the homeless
Singaporean Julian Tan personally journeyed to the Philippines to deliver the relief supplies to the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan last week.

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines- Former army commando Julian Tan is no stranger to places like Tacloban city, where homes were wiped out and thousands of people displaced overnight, becoming refugees in their own country.

As a member of the Special Operations Force (SOF) - an ultra-secret unit within the Singapore Armed Forces - he was sent to many disaster and conflict zones around the world.

But nothing quite prepared him for what he saw in Leyte province, the first in the Philippines to be hit by Typhoon Haiyan on Nov 8.

"I feel pain seeing the people suffering," said the 40-year-old. "When you walk the ground, you will see how the innocent suddenly have no homes."

Now a private paramilitary and security contractor, he was frustrated to see how relief goods were not reaching victims for days after the disaster.

He went on to raise $105,000 and headed there on Nov 20, leading a six-man team comprising three Singaporeans and three Filipinos on a mission to deliver relief supplies directly to the survivors.

Dubbed the strongest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan wiped out almost entire communities in Tacloban city, Leyte province and Guiuan in Eastern Samar province.

People were left hungry for days and many slept in the open, as relief supplies were stuck at distribution centres in Manila.

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