KUALA LUMPUR - When volunteer Mohd Firdaus Datuk Haji Mohd Redzuan arrived in Tacloban, the Philippines, with the 1Malaysia Putera Club (KP1M) for its relief mission, he found that the devastation there was like a scene from a disaster movie.
"We had quite a rough landing because there were no lights at the airport. And then when I stepped out of the plane, I was in total shock.
"I can't describe it properly but the airport was completely crushed. The land had been totally flattened by the typhoon," said Mohd Redzuan, 24.
He was among a 38-member team of volunteers, medical staff, journalists and Royal Malaysian Air Force personnel who returned yesterday after a five-day mission to provide aid to those affected by Haiyan.
Mohd Redzuan, who is a student, said their group of volunteers travelled to several areas to distribute food, water, clothing and mattresses to the affected residents.
"I don't think any of us slept much when we were there. We hit the ground running because there were so many people who were desperate for help.
"Some of them had been going without food and water for days. But despite that, the people were patient and grateful," he said.
Mohd Redzuan said he saw bloated and rotting corpses strewn on the streets there.
"One scene which struck me most was two bodies that I thought must have been a father and a son. They were holding onto each other. The sight alone reduced me to tears," he said.
Around RM1mil in essential items, like food and medicine, were distributed to an estimated 20,000 families during the mission.
KP1M president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul said despite minor mishaps, which included a tent which collapsed and injured him on the head, the mission had achieved its objectives.
"This is one of the worst disasters I have seen. But I commend the team members who managed to dispense aid to those affected," he said.
KP1M chief medical officer Datuk Dr Mohd Alwi Haji Abdul Rahman said: "We had to provide medical assistance and set up tents in quite extreme conditions."