As is tradition on disaster response operations, staying flexible is crucial to success. As many Team Rubicon Greyshirts affectionately say, “Semper Gumby” (a.k.a. stay flexible, be flexible). A lot has happened in the last five days and a lot is about to change in the next 24 hours. So far, we have successfully integrated our Emergency Medical Team (EMT) into the Tinian Health Center’s medical system as force multipliers to treat and care for patients in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yutu. We have conducted storm shelter health assessments in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC). And, our mobile EMT has seen and treated 36 homebound patients across southern Tinian.
As the saying goes, “the reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” Our EMT is living proof of this saying.
It’s been a little over a week since the eye wall of Super Typhoon Yutu, a category 5 equivalent storm, made landfall on Tinian – leaving behind widespread damage and destruction. In the wake of this storm, approximately 85% of the Tinian Health Center’s medical provider’s homes were left severely damaged or destroyed. So, after seeing how well our team is operating as part of their medical system, and the positive impact we’ve had in the community in such a short time, the CHCC requested that TR’s EMT take over staffing and running of the Tinian Health Center 12 hours a day for the next week. This will provide relief to all of their medical workers and allow them to take additional time to deal with storm damage and care for their own families.
Additionally, the CHCC reached out today and requested that Team Rubicon send a mobile EMT to southern Saipan. Super Typhoon Yutu hit this area very hard and there is a large segment of the population that is stuck in their villages – unable to access or reach healthcare. So, understanding that Team Rubicon is uniquely positioned to carry out mobile medical missions in austere environments, the CHCC has tasked our EMT with: traveling to southern Saipan, conducting healthcare needs assessments, providing mobile medical care and vaccinations, and/or making referrals, as needed.
So, we will be splitting our EMT into two elements. One team of six will be continuing our primary mission to staff and run the Tinian Health Center. The other team of 11 will be flying to southern Saipan to carry out the new mobile medical mission for the next week.
Stay tuned for more updates and progress on this medical operation in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).