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Caribbean help in South Carolina


Columbia, SC (WSPA)

A significant number of hurricane evacuees will soon arrive in the palmetto state ..

Officials are flying in the sick and injured from areas devastated by Maria to South Carolina for treatment.

It’s a medical triage set up to help those hit by the hurricane. Enough medical beds and equipment to help most ailments. Patients come here from the Caribbean and then they’re sent out to local medical facilities for long treatment if necessary.

This hangar at the Columbia Metro Airport is now a medical facility set up to help nearly 60 patients.

Jonathan Calore is with the National Disaster Medical System, he says, “it’s the first time in U.S. history that the Department of Defense run NDMS (National Disaster Medical System) location has actually ever been activated.”

First responders across the country are on standby, waiting to set up medical units just like this one, at a moment’s notice. This one in Columbia is staffed by workers from Georgia and around the Carolina’s.

Jeff Straub is with Spartanburg Regional Emergency Manager, he says, “we’re seeing anything from chronic diseases, not a lot of trauma, not a lot of new disease processes, but people who are on medication that may not have gotten those medications.”

Straub is from Spartanburg Regional. He and a team of 12 came to Columbia last Sunday to lend a helping hand. Only a third of the hospitals in the Caribbean are up and running, some of the wounded have already been transported and many more are expected to come.

Jonathan Calore says, “all the flights that have come in so far are like air ambulance type of flights.”

It’s a duty first responders don’t mind fulfilling. Jeff Straub says, “If we can lend that support and that care to our neighbors that they would extend their arms of care to us as well.”

The medical team is ready and waiting for patients to arrive Spartanburg Regional they also have doctors and nurses on staff here ready to treat those with ailments as they come in.

Most of the patients coming into South Carolina are from St. Croix and Puerto Rico.

Another plane load of patients is scheduled to arrive around 11:30 this evening.

Also, we’ve learned that North Carolina is sending 200 National Guard Engineers to Puerto Rico to aid recovery ..

This follows Thursday’s departure of 150 South Carolina guardsmen.

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