MHS shelterees need more water

THERE’S drinking water, food, medicine and healthcare at the Marianas High School typhoon shelter, but the 131 shelterees said they also need water for their personal hygiene.

Geraldine Sanchez and 12 members of her family have been at MHS since the day after Typhoon Yutu demolished her house in Susupe.

“Our main challenge here is water. We were told that the pipes connecting the tank to the school buildings are broken,” she said.

Water from the tank is available for three hours only every day.

“We have to walk all the way to the back of the new cafeteria, where the tank is located, just to fetch water,” Sanchez said. “Sometimes the water that we get is not enough for us.”

Sanchez is staying in one of the rooms at MHS with his youngest son and her friend’s six children, her brother and his family.

She is the legal guardian of the six children whose mother is in Washington.

Lorie, who declined to give his last name, said aside from 131 people staying at the shelter, they also share water with other people who are not in the shelter.

“We see people, who are not staying at the shelter, lining up at the water tank too,” she said.

According to Lorie, the lack of water is compromising their health.

She said she and her family are staying in one of the administration rooms with three other families.

“We have our own restroom. Other families from the other rooms also used it. Most of the time, we don’t have water to use to flush the toilet. The stinking smell from the bathroom fills the entire room. There are now mosquitoes at night,” she added.

Rosa Acosta has the same issue, saying they cannot wash their children properly because of the limited water supply. “Children are always perspiring because it is hot here.”

Carissa Haney, a family nurse and U.S. Public Health Service Officer, said they have assessed the health and safety environment of the shelters.

“We noticed that some shelters are cleaner than the other. We do report that back to [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and to public health department. They will do further assessment and come back to the shelters that have the most need to monitor public health,” Haney said. 

“All [school] principals have been requesting that water is delivered to the shelters as everybody wishes they have more water.”

Haney is one of the members of the Hawaii Disaster Medical Assistance Team deployed on Saipan.

On Thursday morning, the team went back to MHS to check on the people at the shelter.

Haney said they also see people who are not staying in the shelters.

“Anyone in the vicinity can come. We have two teams of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical technicians and paramedics available for the people,” she added.

“We are here for three main reasons: medication refills for people who lost their medication in the storm, vaccination and assess and treat sick people so we don’t have to overburden the [emergency room] at the hospital,” she added.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Immunization Program, for its part, has been vaccinating people.

“We want to vaccinate everyone in the community for influenza because it might be the big element that will come for the next couple of week or months, especially if everyone is living together,” Haney said. “We also have tetanus shots because a lot of people have cuts and wounds from typhoon.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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