This recent Facebook message from ProMedical staff in Vanuatu says it all –
Hi everyone, we are in desperate need of funding assistance so we have set up the official ProMedical & ProMedical Rescue gofundme campaign at http://www.gofundme.com/promedical
ProMedical is the only fully equipped emergency medical response team in Vanuatu and has provided paramedic services in Port Vila, Vanuatu since September 2000. Over that time the scope of the service has grown to include 24-hour ambulance, local and overseas medevac, hyperbarics and first aid training. ProMedical survives on the communities support and donations and in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam, ProMedical needs funding support.
Our Executive Officer Robyn Smith has been talking to both Judy Willie, paramedic and Zeik Smith an Australian staff member in Vanuatu and extended the support and empathy of Paramedic Australasia members.
ProMedical has three Australian paramedics and the team is working around the clock with a large band of volunteers to assist with the critical need to get fresh water out to the local communities. At present they are aware that some villagers are boiling seawater to drink which is exacerbating the problem of dehydration and illness. With all the rain and debris around, there are fears for malaria and dengue fever as well as diahorrea and vomiting from water contamination.
Australian paramedic Charlotte Gillan’s beachside home has been all but destroyed by the cyclone however it didn’t stop her and her Operations Manager, fellow Australian Michael Benjamin from using chainsaws to literally cut a path clear so they could get to their posts at the ambulance station.
Judy Willie has expressed gratitude for PA’s offer of assistance by way of volunteer paramedics however she explained that the Vanuatu government is currently in discussions with the Australian High Commission and representatives of New Zealand and French governments to determine requirements for paramedics to be flown in. She anticipates a team will be required out of Australia and we will await formal advice.
What is needed urgently is donations, so if you can help please go to: http://www.gofundme.com/promedical
Dr Peter Hartley