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U.S. Air Force HARRT arrives in Indonesia

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Veronica Pierce
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A U.S. Air Force Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team arrived at the Bandar Udara International Airport late in the evening Oct. 5 with approximately 200,000 pounds of medical and contingency response equipment.

The 69-member team set up a mobile field hospital near the M. Jamil hospital here to work closely with host-nation medical personnel. The field hospital is equipped to provide treatment ranging from acute to surgical care. The team began seeing patients Oct. 7 and treated more than 70 people in the first eight hours.

The only pharmacist on the HARRT, Capt. Ellen Roska from the 374th Medical Support Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, said she has been impressed with the teamwork shown by the HARRT.

"I've had bio folks, lab techs and even non-medics help make sure the pharmacy was up and running," she said. "We also have local medical students helping as translators."

The captain said although the services provided are primitive compared to home-station capabilities, the team has been able to meet the needs of each patient.

"We keep it simple and create basic packages of meds for the doctors to choose from," she said.

Captain Roska said keeping the prescriptions simple also helps to make translation of dosage and frequency that much easier.

The mayor of Padang, Fauzi Bahar, stopped by the field hospital to greet the HARRT Airmen and offer his gratitude for their assistance in providing medical care to the citizens of Padang.

Ted Osius, U.S. Deputy Charge de Affairs in Indonesia, and Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet commander, accompanied the mayor on his visit.

While touring the field hospital, Mr. Osius explained to local media members the resources that a HARRT can provide.

"We are partners, [and] we look forward to helping the people in any way possible," said Mr. Osius. "The HARRT is capable of accommodating between 250 to 400 patients a day -- depending on the injuries.

"We believe this will add to the capabilities of your local hospital," he added.

Three of the four hospitals in Padang were severely damaged during the recent earthquake, limiting medical services. The HARRT can help alleviate the burden of treating the overwhelming number patients seeking medical attention.

"HARRT helps bring psychological normalcy to the people here," Admiral Landolt said. "Knowing they have care, an island of stability is replaced."

HARRT members erected the field hospital the day after arriving in country.

"It is amazing to believe how fast this hospital went up," said Mr. Osius. "The people in the U.S. are very dedicated in helping the Indonesians as soon as possible in response to the terrible earthquake."