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Students assist with typhoon relief efforts

By Louise Errington

Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies students Michael Dau and Wayne Dillon Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies students Michael Dau and Wayne Dillon

Two Charles Darwin University humanitarian students have been working alongside logisticians coordinating the Australian medical response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The students were assisting the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre’s (NCCTRC) logistics team at its Darwin warehouse by packing critical food and medical supplies that were sent to Tacloban city.

The supplies were used by an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) comprising 37 doctors, nurses, logisticians, a pharmacist and radiographer that departed Darwin for the devastated region on 27 November. The deployment replaced a team that had been in the disaster-stricken nation for 14 days.

Humanitarian and Community Studies lecturer Dan Baschiera said his students had been exposed to a wide range of missions, including internationally and locally based placements.

“Humanitarian logistical work such as this is part of their core subject material,” Mr Baschiera said.

Student Michael Dau said he started a disaster response placement with the NCCTRC in September, and assisted the organisation with its response to the disaster in the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan struck on 7 November.

“Learning about the logistical work the NCCTRC does to assist people in desperate need has been a valuable experience,” Michael said. “When we started, the warehouse was full and now it is nearly empty.

“The centre is feeding more people than what was originally anticipated.”

A refugee from South Sudan, Michael said he had relied on humanitarian support for 10 years and hoped to help others who faced the same plight he once had.

“I was interested in studying humanitarian and community work at CDU because the course content is very hands-on and concerns the natural and man-made humanitarian crises human beings face around the world every day,” he said.

Michael was joined on placement by his classmate Wayne Dillon at the NCCTRC.

The first AusMAT team deployed completed more than 72 surgeries, treated in excess of 587 outpatient cases and treated more than 108 inpatients in the field hospital.

The team was self-sufficient, supplying their own food, medical supplies and other essentials, including water and electricity, so as not to burden the already taxed local services.