By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Beverly Lesonik
Sailors assigned to the medical department aboard the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) treated wounded Philippine citizens and conducted a health care needs assessment in the Guiuan area during Operation Damayan, Nov. 17.
Lt. Lauren Moses, George Washington’s physician assistant, from Port Townsend, Wash., and two hospital corpsmen were flown to the Guiuan Air Force Base where they were transported by Philippine government vehicles to the Rural Health Center.
“We were tasked to go into Guiuan to assess the health care needs in this particular area and to get into contact with the health director, Dr. Maria Flores, to discuss what supplies she needed,” said Moses.
The medical team obtained a list of supplies Flores needed and the locations of other local health centers.
“We were assigned to go to other places to assess casualties and injured numbers around the area,” said Moses.
Moses and the two hospital corpsmen, with a map in hand, hiked to Municipal Hall to take record of the casualties and to speak with volunteers about the status of needed medical provision. They also gathered information on non-governmental health locations in the area.
The medical team went with Philippine nurses to the Immaculate Conception School and Barangay where they were able to see more than 85 injured civilians.
“We went to the evacuation centers to conduct an assessment,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Quinton Dotson, from Reno, Nev. “There are currently no other government or non-governmental organization medical aid to these shelters.”
The medical team returned to the airfield after a trip around the area to assist with the loading and unloading of relief supplies from an HC-130 Hercules from the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (3d MEB) as they waited for a helicopter to return to the ship.
“I thank God for the opportunity to be here, and I just want to help as much as I can,” said Dotson.
Super Typhoon Haiyan reached speeds up to 195 mph, gusts up to 235 mph and landfall waves of 50 feet. According to the Philippine government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, the super typhoon impacted more than 4.2 million people across 36 provinces in the Philippines.
George Washington Carrier Strike Group is supporting the 3rd MEB in assisting the Philippine government in ongoing relief efforts in response to the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.