From Dan Domizio, Puna Community Medical Center:
Yesterday, December 16th, Civil Defense walked door to door in our Pahoa Marketplace and gave us the order we all knew was coming, “Prepare to Evacuate!”. The evacuation order proper would be coming in the next few days. The gas station was pumping out the last of it’s fuel (premium only at $3.80/gal, all the rest was already gone), the supermarket is closing and packing out today, the ACE Hardware and Lex Brodie’s Tire center will be gone by tomorrow. As I pulled into gas up, I realised that I was encountering the first immediate consequences of the lava. Today, there will be no gas and the tanks will be filled with a foam and water mix to prevent explosions, and essentially make them unusable for the forseeable future.
Today, a 40 foot shipping container donated by Matson Lines will be parked next to our “Annex”clinic. The new clinic space we have been hastily creating out of a 3 bedroom appartment about a mile away on the south end of Pahoa Village, is a day or two away from being “operational.” We will be packing up our current clinic, and either putting the supplies and equipment to use in the annex, or storing it in the container where it will wait to see how things sort out over the next days/weeks/months. The entire transition is fearsomely complicated, involving our ability to provide services, the lives of our staff and our clients, the hemorrhaging of our financial reserves, and the threat to the very survival of this town. To be doing this at all seems surreal, to be doing under time pressure is simply nuts.
As I write, it seems clear that no matter how circumstances twist and turn in the immediate future, life will never be what it was before. The community will likely be dealt a serious if not fatal blow. The Clinic and the lives that have revolved around it for the past 5+ years, will survive and continue to offer services, but the fabric will be a new and unproven one. We can only be certain that our optimism and dedication will remain intact and that PCMC will continue to be an inspiration and a fine example of how a community can, in fact, organize to meet its own needs.
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