Volunteers Do Whatever is Needed to Restore Care
Much of the building's rusty corrugated metal roof had been torn off in the storm and was later re-installed with the spare materials on hand by the hospital's hard-working maintenance team.
It might be tempting to neglect the less urgent issues wrought by an event as destructive as a catastrophic super storm. In this case, a leaky roof bestowed by Typhoon Haiyan. But the damage meant that inside the Tapaz District Hospital on Payan Island, Philippines, the emergency room, patient waiting area, minor surgical procedure room, X-ray room and lab “rained inside when it rained outside,” according to staff. Patients had been instructed to bring umbrellas along with them to the facility since the typhoon. Every morning, hospital employees would mop the water from the previous evening’s rain from surfaces and pray for a dry day.
Much of the building’s rusty corrugated metal roof had been torn off in the storm and was later re-installed with the spare materials on hand by the hospital’s hard-working maintenance team. Some of the other rooms– such as the major operating suite– were not suitable for use at all and those had been shut off completely.
The Project HOPE volunteers working in Tapaz conferred with hospital leadership and the maintenance team and decided that with a small amount of labor and modest expenditures, the roof could be covered in a way to prevent leaks at least until more permanent fixes could be completed.
Under the lead of HOPE volunteer Paul Holzer, a handful of HOPE volunteers and local staff took advantage of a slow day to do just this. HOPE medical coordinator Beth Harrell procured six large tarps from the local UNICEF relief operation. With $55 in nails, sealant, extra tarps and plywood, the team got to work.
It took five hours to lay the tarps, cut the wood into long strips, nail the strips to the existing roof to hold down the sheeting and then seal the nails. By the end, the entire affected area had been sealed under a protective blue covering.
A strong rain tested the work that very evening. And the next day, staff arrived to a puddle-free wing. “People are dry. Umbrellas have been left at the door,” said Holzer.
“This justifies why we’re here. It’s not a permanent fix but we listened to what the hosts asked of us and addressed it with the supplies available and within our capabilities. And that’s satisfying,” said Holzer.