UCLA nurse heads to the PHL for ongoing Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda relief effort

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014. Filed under: Local News
NRN members at work in evacuation center in Estancia. More than 2,000 have been forced from their homes.

NRN members at work in evacuation center in Estancia. More than 2,000 have been forced from their homes.

While many are settling back into regular routines after the holiday break, registered nurse Elena Dahl, an RN at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, CA is starting the new year by traveling to the Philippines to provide medical support for those who continue to be affected by the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

Dahl, who lives in San Pedro, CA, will join the fifth team of RN volunteers, part of the National Nurses United’s Registered Nurse Response Network, that departs on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, to Roxas City on the northern end of the island of Panay, which was in the direct path of the storm. The super typhoon killed over six thousand people, left almost two thousand missing and 4 million either homeless or with damaged homes.

The team includes RNs from New York, Minnesota, Texas, and California. They are among the 3,000 RNs from all 50 states and 19 nations who volunteered in the days after the deadly storm to assist with the relief project for Haiyan/Yolanda. Another Sacramento area RN, Lyn Tirona returned from the RNRN relief effort in late December.

“I volunteered because we are all interconnected,” said Dahl, who has been an RN for ten years and works as a staff nurse in the Maternity-Mother baby-care unit. “The world of media draws us globally closer and we all feel the impact of global climate change – you never know when your community might be the next in need. As an RN I feel an obligation to all communities in need, in particular the most vulnerable populations like mothers and babies.”

UCLA Medical Center is supporting Dahl’s trip by continuing to pay her salary while she is on the relief mission and by donating her airfare. “I am very proud to be supported by the sponsorship donated by the UCLA system which is striving to heal humankind beyond the scope of their own communities,” said Dahl. “I’m also very proud of being part of this particular disaster relief effort, as National Nurses United’s  RNRN effort emphasizes the significance of community collaboration by partnering with healthcare workers of the Philippines and empowering the local community there.”

“Now that the world is no longer focused on the devastation in the Philippines, it is even more important that we continue to lend our support,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of RNRN. “We are working closely with our sister organization in the Philippines, the Alliance of Health Workers, to determine the most effective ways that we can be of assistance.” The Alliance of Health Workers and National Nurses United are both members of Global Nurses United, an international network of nurses’ organizations established last summer.

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