Hospital Staff Working Overtime After Super Typhoon Yutu Pummels Region

First aid and water purification supplies among shipment going to Commonwealth Healthcare in Saipan.


Typhoon Yutu

The island of Saipan is seen from above in this satellite image after 180 mile-per-hour winds howled through the Northern Mariana Islands. (Photo courtesy of Digital Globe)

Super Typhoon Yutu ripped through the Northern Mariana Islands earlier this week, ravaging the U.S. commonwealth islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota with winds of 180 miles per hour.

Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation operates the only hospital in the Northern Mariana Islands, and with other health facilities damaged by the storm, staff have been working to treat patients needing care.

The hospital, located on Saipan, opened its doors on Thursday to patients and had more than 100 people waiting outside, mostly for basic first aid, according to Dr. Tiffany Lin, a former practitioner at Commonwealth who has been coordinating emergency response.

The smaller, less populated island of Tinian was in the direct path of the storm. There’s no hospital on Tinian, so all patients there will be transferred to Saipan, according to Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation staff.

Commonwealth staff will be conducting medical outreach with a mobile clinic, and Direct Relief is shipping Emergency Medical Backpacks, which have been designed specifically for first responders conducting medical care outside hospital walls.

In addition to the backpacks, Direct Relief is preparing a shipment of other medical supplies and equipment. Over 40,000 water purification tablets are being sent, along with oral rehydration salts and rugged tents that are often used as temporary clinics when medical facilities are damaged or remain unstable after a storm.

Direct Relief is also shipping an Emergency Health Kit, which contains enough medicines and supplies to treat 100 patients for 3 to 5 days. Basic personal care items are also being shipped for people displaced by the storm.

Super Typhoon Yutu is the latest response Direct Relief has been involved with in the region. In 2015, Direct Relief was also able to send critical medical supplies to Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation after Typhoon Soudelor swept through.

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