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Mil Med. 2006 Oct;171(10 Suppl 1):19-23.

Medical support to Sri Lanka in the wake of tsunamis: planning considerations and lessons learned.

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1
Third Force Service Support Group, Marine Forces Pacific (Unit 38404), FPO AP 96604-8404.

Abstract

When massive tsunamis affected the coast of Sri Lanka and other Indian Ocean littorals, elements of the Third Force Service Support Group and assigned Navy, Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard units from the U.S. Pacific Command were "task organized" to form Combined Support Group-Sri Lanka (CSG-SL), charged to conduct humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) operations. The specific mission was to provide immediate relief to the affected population of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, to minimize loss of life, and to mitigate human suffering. A 30-person health care team deployed to the northern province of Jaffna and provided medical assistance to that chronically underserved and acutely overstressed region. For a 12-day period, the team served as the principal medical staff of an under-resourced government hospital and conducted mobile primary care clinics at nearby welfare camps housing > 7,000 internally displaced persons made homeless by the tsunamis. By every measurable standard, CSG-SL accomplished its assigned HA/DR task in Sri Lanka, including the medical mission. In doing so, the medical team learned many important lessons, including five of particular value to planners of similar relief operations in the future. This article discusses the context in which CSG-SL planned and executed the medical aspects of its HA/DR operations in Sri Lanka, and it describes the most significant medical lessons learned.

PMID:
17447616
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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