Saturday, March 9, 2013

Kudjip Storm

 It rains here almost everyday, so when it started raining on Wed afternoon as I was working in our outpatient clinic, I didn’t think much about it.  I knew that it was raining pretty hard, and I was having to yell to the patient in order for them to hear me, but with our tin roofs, that also wasn’t anything new.  The first indication that this storm might be stronger than normal was when, I opened my door after seeing a patient to find a group of 20 people huddled just outside my room in our clinic hallway, seeking shelter.  Everyone who lives in PNG is use to rain, so for them to be hiding from it meant this wasn’t the usual storm.  When I finished my day and walked home about an hour later, I started to see just how bad this storm was.

Downed trees were the first indication that this wasn’t just a normal afternoon rain.  Not just little trees, but very large trees with their roots sitting up in the air.  I started hearing reports from others of all that was damaged and a walk of the station revealed it to me.  One missionary house was hit by a number of trees and could hardly be seen with all the branches surround it.  The haus win, where we gather for our potluck lunches every other first Sunday of the month took a direct hit.  The McCoy’s back porch also had a tree fall on it, and many trees were just down in people’s lawns.  

The tree damage wasn’t only limited to structural things, but also to the power of the station.  Some of the trees had fallen on the lines, rendering us powerless.  Jordan and his maintenance crew, were hard at work for the past 2-3 days trying to get our power up, even bringing a truck around with a generator to give us power for an hour or so at a time to keep our fridges and freezers going.  We were all thankful for their work, when our power was restored late Friday night.  

There is still work to do to clean up the station, and repairing and rebuilding some of the damaged houses may take quite a while, but thankfully, no one was injured in the storm and the hospital has remained open throughout.