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Fifth Deployment of Nurses Heads to Typhoon Ravaged Philippines

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The fifth team of RN volunteers, part of the National Nurses United's Registered Nurse Response Network, were to depart on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, to Roxas City on the northern end of the island of Panay in the Philippines, which was in the direct path of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda

The team includes RNs from New York, Minnesota, Texas, and California. They are among the 3,000 RNs from all 50 states and 19 nations who volunteered in the days after the deadly storm to assist with the relief project for victims of the typhoon.  

The super typhoon struck the island nation in early November, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving almost 200,000 missing and 4 million either homeless or with damaged homes.

"Now that the world is no longer focused on the devastation in the Philippines, it is even more important that we continue to lend our support," said Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of RNRN.
"We are working closely with our sister organization in the Philippines, the Alliance of Health Workers, to determine the most effective ways that we can be of assistance."

The Alliance of Health Workers and National Nurses United are both members of Global Nurses United, an international network of nurses' organizations established last summer.

"Probably like most RN's who apply to go, I feel compelled in my heart and gut to take care of people in a disaster area as soon as possible: it's part of our DNA," said David Abeles, an RN at Arise Austin Medical Center in Austin, Texas.

Volunteer, Ireneo Jore, an RN at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, originally comes from Roxas City, where he practiced as a family physician.

"I am glad to be part of this opportunity to help the victims of this horrific calamity in my own home town" said Jore, who now lives in Manhattan. Jore has 10 siblings, five of whom live in Roxas City and lost their homes in the disaster.

"I expect that many of the problems we will encounter will be related to the lack of preventive medical care prior to the disaster," said Diane McClure, an RN at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif. "I am very happy to volunteer through RNRN because it's well organized and understands the needs of the people." McClure also served as an RNRN volunteer in Haiti after the earthquake in 2011.

Ireneo, Abeles and the others will follow in the footsteps of the RNRN volunteers who have been providing basic medical care at rotating mobile clinics, in a ruined chapel, school, gym and other temporary settings as well as at a city health clinic in and around Roxas, and other sites in the Philippines.

The RNRN volunteers have worked in conjunction with local public health officials, physicians, a church and other community supporters, providing wound care, giving tetanus and other shots, offering critical stress debriefings, and other basic care.

National Nurses United invites the public to contribute to the effort at  www.sendanurse.org.


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