KAIROS-Project Yolanda 2013: See a report in:



KAIROS Project Yolanda 2013 – Report from the Philippines 

Since 2011 we have worked with PECOJON, a Philippines-based NGO devoted to helping independent political journalists and their families in Philippines, offering stress and trauma prevention and treatment through psychotherapy, body work, acupuncture, homeopathy and orthomolecular medicine. Our patients and clients, as independent political journalists, come from all ages, all walks of life and all classes of Filipino society, and represent a population constantly under threat by the corrupt mafia-like structures running the country. As we in Europe don't know so much about Philippines, one could best compare the political structures there to that of places like Mexico or other countries in south and middle America - oligarchs wielding power, several civil wars going on largely unnoticed by the international community, and independet journalists being killed on a daily basis in a culture of impunity. 
In Philippines, political journalists are not only exposed to direct violence and existential threats, but also to severely traumatic situations they face in their coverages, ranging from armed standoffs between military and rebel groups, bomb blasts to first hand witnessing natural and man-made disasters, oftentimes acting as first responders in a country where there are no sufficient funds for coordinated search and rescue operations. On top of that, they are almost always affected by these incidents themselves, losing their homes, friends, and relatives.

Tacloban, 6 weeks after Yolanda: whenever the rain stops, people continue cleaning up...
From 2011 until 2013, all of this year's clients were privately as well as profesionally exposed to three or more of the following natural and man-made disasters: Typhoon Sendong/Washi (12/2011) with subsequent flash-floods in Mindanao; typhoon Pablo (2012), the Cebu ship collision with hundreds of casualties (Aug 2013); the rebel siege of the city of Zamboanga (Sep 2013, still hundreds of internally displaced persons; some of our clients witnessed a fatal shrapnel attack on a Red Cross Team about 20 m from where they themselves were standing); the 7.9 magnitude Bohol earthquake (Oct 2013), and finally super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan in Nov 2013, the most severe storm in recorded history to make landfall.

Especially after Yolanda/Haiyan, many of them flocked to the affected areas as first responders, trying to help the people in need as well as to secure information for the public, as it was expected the government would try to cover up the true extent of the devastation (which, indeed, happened). Journalists local to Tacloban, on the other hand, were directly hit by the devastation first-hand, including the loss of family members, homes, and material belongings. One of our patients was the only survivor out ot the total number of employees of a local television station....

Dec 25 - Family clinic for typhoon survivors in Tacloban
Between Christmas Eve and Dec 30, 2013, we conducted 5 trauma clinics (4x in Tacloban/Leyte, the city most affected by the super typhoon, for affected journalists and their families;  and one in Cebu for Cebu-based journalists and first responders). The most common patient complaints were muscle/neck- and back pain; sleeping problems; heavy depression; anxiety; flashbacks and/or nightmares of the traumatic incidents; chronic headaches; fatigue; numbness; inability to feel emotions; joint pains; trouble breathing; compulsive behavior; stomach and digestive problems. 
The patients seen by us this time displayed a wider range of and qualitatively more severe symptoms than the ones seen in the years before (2011 and 2012).

Nada protocol of ear acupuncture

Patients about to drink their first dose of homeopathic remedy

During the course of the clinic, patients received a combination of psychotherapeutic trauma interventions, sessions of integrative body work, NADA acupuncture as well as the homeopathic remedy PC 305z for the specific treatment of natural disaster-induced afflictions. This remedy was also given out to helpers, and we used it ourselves to better cope with the highly stressful situation.
In Tacloban, many patients reported back on the next day, saying they had experienced a significant relief of their complaints. Best results were seen in sleeping problems and pain problems (head, muscle, and joints), a large number of which disappeared after the first day of treatment. One female patient reported that, without connection to the recent disasters, she had been suffering from a phobia of riding her motorcycle after having just barely survived a major accident twelve years ago. After participating in our trauma clinic, she went home and got on her bike again....

Stress and anger management exercise with participants of our trauma clinic

Trauma-group-therapy with survivors of the typhoon in Tacloban
Severely traumatized patients (especially ones who had witnessed the drowning of family members without being able to help) voluntarily participated on more than one day. Here we were able to document an improvement of the psychovegetative status in a sense that their interaction with others improved (they were able to listen attentively, smile, and talk to others), a subjective improvement of sleeping, as well as an improvement of anxiety and depression symptoms.
In Cebu, we only had one day of clinic, so there were no immediate follow-ups, except for participating journalists calling on colleagues (radio as well as camera teams) to report about the clinic, since they felt the information about the treatment they had received and witnessed needed to be spread - so after our clinic, we were in high demand for a number of TV and radio interviews, some of which were even aired live.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported our work and enabled us to respond to the needs of our patients in Tacloban. We will continue our activities in 2014.... There is still a lot of work to do.

Children who attended our Family clinic - all survivors of the Typhoon in Tacloban 



KAIROS-Projekct "Yolanda" - Update no.6 - Jan 2, 2014


KAIROS-Project "YOLANDA" - Update Nr. 6 - Dec 14, 2013

Upon invitation by teachers, parents and students of Lützellinden Primary School, we were able to present our project "YOLANDA" at the school's annual Christmas celebration. The school community has generously decided to donate the proceedings of their annual Christmas charity fundraiser. We will keep in touch with the school community and will return in the new year to recount our experiences in the Philippines, and to present some insights into our work with affected children and their families by way of our Children's Trauma book. Our deepest gratitude to the students, parents and teachers for their generous support!

KAIROS-Project "YOLANDA" - Update Nr. 5 - Nov 26, 2013
"We're no debris, we can still work!" 

The PECOJON coordinators have returned from their 10 day trip through the areas affected by YOLANDA. It was their goal to gather reliable and independent information regarding the current state in remoter areas that haven't or have only recently been able to be contacted by relief efforts, and to deliver first response aid to the affected people.
On the basis of the information gathered, a comprehensive concept was designed as how to support the affected media representatives, our Trauma clinic being just one mosaic stone in the context of a long-lasting and sustainable engagement.

Our Trauma clinic will provide assistance to first-responders, affected as well as covering journalists in coming to terms and handling their experiences during and in the wake of the typhoon, as even well-weathered and experienced journalists of international media like the New York Times couldn't help but remark to never before having been exposed to such a degree of death and devastation.

Letter by Ms Ledrolen Manriquez to the Forum Media & Development (www.cameco.org)

Typhoon Haiyan’s catastrophic destruction affected many groups of people from different walks of life, some of whom may not seem like obvious suggestions for emergency aid.

Our appeal is different, and very real, local Filipino journalists and media people have suffered tragic losses - families, friends,self-sustained local media outfits - all gone because of the typhoon.

The local media are severely stressed and traumatized. Many of them were on duty when the typhoon devastated the Visayas.

Right now, they are victims themselves, and even as victims, they strive to continue to do their job as reporters, as story tellers and as the voice of the people. Their only wish is to be able to to do their work again.

PECOJON-The Peace and Conflict Journalism Network Philippines is a Misereor partner. We have immediately responded to the local media providing immediate financial aid for food, shelter and transportation less than a week after the typhoon.

There are over 129 media workers affected. Some of them lost their lives during the typhoon, some survived but lost their spouse and children, and all of them lost the media outfits. Some media outfits have sister stations from Cebu and Manila but self-sustained media by individual journalists or partners are totally flattened.

Last night, I received reports of verbal harassment against the local media. That they are not allowed to attend press conferences or provided with information of government actions on the ground. The local officials said because they are local media. One of the reporters said, "Our houses and stations may have been destroyed but we are not debris and we could still do our job!"

Who will do the daunting task of reportage and monitoring when the national and international press slowly leaves Samar and Leyte in the days to come?

We need to respond now. Urgently, PECOJON is in need of funds to be able to provide the following to the local media:

1) immediate relief on food, money and shelter
2) immediate relief on equipments (telephone, mobile internet, laptop,
recorders, harddrives)
3) trauma clinic
4) rehabilitation program for the local media by building a community
mass media (combination of tv, radio and print through online platform)

We are writing CAMECO to seek help in realizing these needs and to beable to guide us or advise on whom to approach to realize the responses.

I pray that my email does not overwhelm you...and apologies for the urgency of the situation. I would have had sent this email earlier but I was on the ground myself and was only able to return last Sunday. We are more than willing to work out with whatever is possible.


Len Manriquez

(Ms) Ledrolen Manriquez
Acting National Coordinator/Chief of Operations
PECOJON-The Peace and Conflict Journalism Network Philippines
www.pecojon.ph | www.pecojon.org.ph
+ 63 928 504 73 79 | 0063-32-5055262

KAIROS-Projekt "YOLANDA" - Update Nr. 4 - Nov 25, 2013

PECOJON - The Peace and Conflict Journalism Network: Urgent Appeal for Donations

Typhoon Haiyan’s catastrophic destruction affected many groups of people
from different walks of life, some of whom may not seem like obvious
suggestions for emergency aid.
Our appeal is different, and very real, local Filipino journalists and
media people have suffered tragic losses - families, friends,
self-sustained local media outfits - all gone because of the typhoon.
The local media are severely stressed and traumatized. The biggest
tragedy of their career when they cannot continue their work and tell
the stories of the people because they are victims themselves.
True to its “journalist for journalist” principle, PECOJON launched a
humanitarian mission for the media workers affected by super typhoon
Haiyan (Yolanda).
Specifically, PECOJON targets to provide:
1. Immediate financial assistance to bridge the urgent need for food,
money and transportation;
2. A trauma clinic on December, 2013 with the support of Matthias Witzel
and Dr. Sarah Monz of the Lago Maggiore Institute; and
3. Project RISE: A long term rehabilitation program for community
journalists in the affected region through a community mass media program.
Bank Account Details:
Account Name: PECOJON-The Peace and Conflict Journalism Network
Philippines, Inc
Savings Account Number: 00-231-0255544
Swift Code: BNORPHMM
Bank Name: BDO Unibank Inc.
Address of the Bank: Cebu-Fuente Branch, Cebu City, 6000 Philippines
Address of the Account Holder: 10A Alo Compound Elizabeth Pond Ext Brgy
Kamputhaw, Cebu City 6000 Cebu Philippines
Thank you!
Len Manriquez

YOLANDA - update no. 3 - Nov 22, 2013

A Note from Ledrolen Manriquez, PECOJON Chief of Operations, on the current situation

Dear Friends,
My deepest apologies for not being able to keep in touch with you while being here on the ground. Our communication is very limited and transportation is a challenge. If you look at the map, we moved from Tacloban City to Catbalogan and further to Giuian in Eastern Samar. We were able to touch base with local journalists and initially provided them with immediate financial assistance.
The areas of Northen Leyte, Southern and Eastern Samar have been severely affected by the typhoon. Almost 100-percent of the area were damaged and devastated. Coconut trees were uprooted. Houses are destroyed totally and left into structures and devastation. The sad thing right now is that it is raining and with every rain and wind, people are recall the ordeal of that fateful day. 
In these areas, four radio stations, two television station and 1 local daily were totally damaged by the storm. Jazmin Bonifacio of Radyo Diwa shares her near death experience. She was onboard that day. The storm is expected to hit Tacloban at 8am, the night before, the calm had an eerie feeling. When the storm came, it did not come with rain but it came with a wall of dark and black water - about 15 feet high - hitting tacloban like a tsunami. They were inside the station when it happened and the station was flooded up to the ceiling. They had to stay at the ceiling until the water subsided about an hour later.
Haiyan left Tacloban into a city of debris. Trees, mud and dirt devoured the city. Arriving in the city four days later after the storm, my sight saw only debris over debris and I couldn't tell how the city would recover from the catastrophe. Relief could only relieve a few days. How to go on and move forward is the most daunting task.
We met with seven journalists in our rounds. We gave them initial financial support. Some we helped with a temporary work with the international press hoping that being a local guide/fixer could help them emotionally recover from the trauma of the typhoon. Some we are looking for temporary work with aid agencies. Although temporary, we hope that it could augment the urgency of at least doing something and not being stagnant.
We also told them that by December we will gather them for handling trauma sessions and they are looking forward on this. They said it is equally needed as work is.
Looking forward to the future, we hope that you can further help us connect with funding agencies in europe in a plan to set up a community media - radio, tv and print - for all journalists who lost their work because of the storm. We will call this project: RISE. Because most of the owners feel there is no way but shutdown now, we will fight this situation with a situation of hope and find a solution that will not only bring back life to the those affected but will rise them up to be models of disaster management.
As for me, we had to manage sleeping in the car we rented when we went to visit the affected media in Giuian and to eat biscuits and canned goods here in Tacloban. When we went to Catbalogan, we were able to feast on cooked food and being here on the ground that was a relief for me as well.
My deepest gratitude,

YOLANDA-update no. 2 - Nov 18, 2013

Regarding the need for financial assistance…

As mentioned in our first call for donations, I have been to Philippines several times since 2008, working as a trauma therapist with several groups of PECOJON (PEACE AND CONFLICT JOURNALISM NETWORK) journalists and their families. The last occasion was in April 2012 together with my partner Sarah who is a medical doctor – after the flooding caused by typhoon Sendong/Washi on civil-war stricken Mindanao in December 2011 which affected many journalists and their families directly.

We are constantly in touch with PECOJON personnel, first and foremost with Ms. Ledrolen Manriquez, Chief of Operations  for PECOJON Philippines. This way, we keep informed about the complex situation within the country, which is omplicated in a political sense as well as with regard to the various natural disasters which have been occurring at an increasing frequency (just barely a month before Haiyin/Yolanda, the island of Bohol where we used to set up our trauma clinics was struck by a major 7 point earthquake that caused massive destruction).

Due to these recent incidents, Ledrolen asked us if we could possibly arrange to come soon in order to stabilize the fellow PECOJON journalists who are not only out and about covering the extent of the disaster as well as the progress (or lack thereof) of relief efforts, but are at the same time accompanying and working with relief operations as unsalaried volunteer helpers. This “stabilization” includes psychotherapy-based interventions regarding the witnessed traumatizing events, treatment of somatic injuries and diseases acquired during the operations, as well as the treatment of post-traumatic stress symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, depression, panic attacks and emotional instability.
 We have therefore started collecting financial assistance from our personal friends and families, in order to set up a post-Yolanda PTSD clinic. With these funds, we want to cover expenses for transportation and short-term on-site accomodation for the patients who lack personal funds for medical treatments. Furthermore, we will bring clinic equipment for diagnostics and physical treatment such as acupuncture needles, a mobile pharmacy unit including homeopathic as well as allopathic medicine, medical tapes etc. This setup has proven itself to be useful in 2012, but since we expect a much larger number of participants this time, we won’t be able to cover all expenses exclusively from our own personal funds this year.

We will cover our own expenses including the flights. This means that 100% of the donations will directly benefit the trauma clinic and the patients.

At this time, it is hard to estimate exactly how much money is needed. In addition to the clinic, we would also like to directly support affected families since some journalists are reported to have died while on duty during the storm, leaving behind children and families whose housing and belongings are now destroyed and who have lost their main provider.

In early 2014, we are planning to found KAIROS as a registered initiative associated with our practice for physical and mental health. This will facilitate further activities as well as the distribution of larger funds in Philippines as well as in other target countries.

Further information about our practice, our projects and activities can be found at 

Bank details:
GERMANY:  Matthias Witzel, Volksbank Mittelhessen, IBAN DE95 5139 0000 0024 2567 07, BIC  VBMHDE5F,  designation: „Yolanda“
SWITZERLAND: Matthias Witzel, MIGROS Bank, IBAN CH91 0840 1016 6054 4740 0, designation: „Yolanda“
(from other countries than the above, feel free to use either connection.)

                                                                                              Buseck, Germany, Nov 12, 2013
Dear Friends,
We kindly ask for your support for our upcoming humanitarian mission to Philippines.
We'll go in December.... (and yes, we're skipping Christmas.)
At direct request from a Philippine-based NGO, we will set up a
PTSD* Prevention and Therapy Clinic for Helpers and Survivors Affected by YOLANDA

*post traumatic stress disorder

After Yolanda, the most severe typhoon in recorded history, made landfall in Philippines on Nov 7th, 2013, our help was requested by PECOJON, a Philippine-based network of conflict-sensitive journalists Matthias Witzel has been working with since 2008, offering clinics, workshops and seminars on the handling of stress and trauma. In 2012, after flash floods on the civil war-beaten island of Mindanao had claimed several hundred casualties, we held three workshops and clinics at different venues in Mindanao, for the first time supplementing the psychotherapeutic interventions with medical treatments and informational talks on the physiological aspects of stress and trauma and how they can be overcome.
For two days, the terrifying pictures of YOLANDA’s aftermath have been going around the globe, while our friends in Philippines have been fighting alongside international organisations sent to rebuild infrastructure, distribute food supplies, and to provide medical help and information to those in need, while oftentimes being affected themselves, having lost their homes and counting casualties in their family circles. So the question remains, what will become of those helpers after the worst is over, and how they will be able to cope with the immediate exposure to destruction and desolation and the experience of their own helplessness in the face of total disaster – and if, and how, they will even be able to cope that long.

We will therefore travel to the affected areas in mid-December to set up a PTSD prevention and therapy clinic in order to support helpers as well as survivors of the YOLANDA crisis, so that apart from regaining control over the most basic material aspects of life, they will have the opportunity to receive treatments and empowerment to work through the psychological aspects of this crisis, and to emerge without lasting mental, psychosomatic or physical impairments.
At this moment, we would kindly like to ask for your support of our outreach in order to help the people regain control of their lives shattered by YOLANDA.

As this is a private initiative, every donation, however small, will directly benefit our work with the typhoon victims. We will keep you updated via our homepage and/or via mailing list. If you have any questions regarding this project, or the KAIROS initiative, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly via e-mail.

Sarah & Matthias
Bank details:
GERMANY:  Matthias Witzel, Volksbank Mittelhessen, IBAN DE95 5139 0000 0024 2567 07, BIC  VBMHDE5F,  designation: „Yolanda“
SWITZERLAND: Matthias Witzel, MIGROS Bank, IBAN CH91 0840 1016 6054 4740 0, designation: „Yolanda“
(from other countries than the above, feel free to use either connection.)
World wide web:
Homepage: www.matthias-witzel.com(see „NEWS“)

E-mail: praxis-kairos[SQM]t-online.de