Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wewak tsunami costs at K5 million

Boram hospital shut, items worth K5million lost




BORAM General Hospital in Wewak, East Sepik, has suffered damages running to about K5 million as a result of the Japan tsunami last Friday, The National reports.

The damage cost also included medical drugs and hospital equipment stolen by looters when the hospital’s power generator blacked out when the low-lying Boram peninsula, where the hospital is located, was pounded by metre-high waves.

Hospital CEO Dr Louis Samiak said yesterday they had scaled down services following the serious damages caused to key facilities.

The hospital was temporarily closed except for emergencies, the labour ward, surgical ward, the operating theatre and the special care nursery.

He said the hospital’s standby generator, kitchen, laundry and dispensary, located on the western end of the hospital, suffered most of the damage as the huge waves swept through the hospital ground, knocking down gas cylinders, other equipment and stocks of medicine at the pharmacy.

PNG Defence Force soldiers from Moem barracks yesterday helped the hospital staff in cleaning up around the hospital, including the dispensary area.

The low-lying section of peninsula where the hospital is normally bears the brunt of tidal surges that hit the coastline from time to time.

Samiak said before the waves hit on Friday night, all patients were evacuated to higher grounds.

He said opportunists took advantage of the power blackout by breaking into the storeroom and dispensary and stole medicine and equipment.

Samiak said 61 patients now at the hospital were surviving on biscuits and soft drinks because proper meals could not be prepared .

He said the hospital was also faced with shortage of drugs after the pharmacy was soaked and ransacked by opportunists.

East Sepik deputy provincial administrator technical services Benjamin Warakai visited the hospital and asked for a detailed report on the damage caused.

Samiak said yesterday that the provincial works department had completed a report on the damages and it would costs K5 million to restore all hospital services.

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