SACRAMENTO, CA - It isn't the kind of vacation most people would want, but Kaiser emergency physician, Dr. James Peng used his own time off to travel to the Philippines to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
The massive storm struck in early November killing more than 6000 people and leaving countless more in critical need of medical attention.
"I think most people would be surprised at just how large the scale of the devastation is," Dr. Peng said.
He spent time in mobile clinics and was often sent to remote makeshift medical facilities that would require driving for hours seeing nothing but rubble on both sides of the street.
Nearly two months after the storm struck, problems persist even as communities struggle to get back on their feet.
"People are starting to get running water, but they are contaminated. You start to worry about a lot of infectious diseases that weren't there before," Peng said.
Peng and other members of his team made do often without electricity, sometimes using headlamps for complicated procedures. With his return to the states, Peng hopes even as the medical phase of the response draws down, the disaster-struck areas of the Philippines will continue to get the attention they need.
"In terms of the rebuilding and how long it's going to take in terms of the need of the people to get back to the lives that they had before the typhoon, it's not just going to be months, but it's going to be years," Peng said.