George Washington Carrier Strike Group's Medical Team to Support Philippine Relief Efforts
PHILIPPINE SEA -- The George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) was directed Nov. 12 to provide assistance to the Republic of the Philippines in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
Super Typhoon Haiyan reached speeds up to 195 miles per hour (mph), gusts up to 235 mph and landfall waves of 50 feet. According to the Philippine government's national disaster risk reduction and management council, the super typhoon impacted more than 4.2 million people across 36 provinces in the Philippines.
"If requested, we may provide some preventative medicine assistance as well as mental health assistance needs," said Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Boyer, George Washington's nurse. "As of this moment, we are taking stock and standing by for orders."
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Alexis Price, a previous fleet marine force (FMF) corpsman deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Indonesia, has participated in efforts similar to the Philippines.
"I deployed with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2004 aboard the USS Harpers Ferry," said Price. "We were tasked with providing genuine comfort and care to those who were affected; we were able to help those in desperate need. We distributed water, meals ready to eat, minor first-aid, blankets, sheets, etc."
The George Washington medical department is capable of providing medical guidance to those on shore to prevent the spread of diseases; they can also provide some supplies and services such as surgeon and primary care.
"Within a span of two to three weeks, there will be an increased risk of contracting a disease," said Capt. Russell Hays, George Washington's senior medical officer. "Medical can provide guidance on how to prevent the contracting of diseases such as cholera and hepatitis. We must all remember that this is a team effort, from the squadrons, to medical to the galley, we all contribute to people surviving."
GWCSG arrived Nov. 14 to the Republic of the Philippines to support "Operation Damayan," the humanitarian efforts in response to Typhoon Haiyan.