19 Sep 2005

Marshalls hospital fire causes US$500,000 damage

3:33 pm on 19 September 2005

The Marshall Islands is estimating the damage caused by a fire at Majuro Hospital to be at least half a million US dollars.

The fire burned the kitchen, laundry and a storage room with the hospital's three months worth of medical supplies.

The Marshall Islands President, Kessai Note, has declared a state of emergency and is expected to return tomorrow after cutting short a visit to the UN summit meeting in New York.

Aid agencies and international diplomatic offices in the capital have been assisting local government authorities in recovery efforts.

The hospital's administrator, Sandy Alfred says luckily there were no casualties, and 85 patients were safely relocated to two nearby locations.

"We have identified some places where we can temporarily place our supplies and pharmaceuticals and get housekeeping stuff in. In the meantime the national government is coordinating the structure of building and repairs for us at this time. It seems that things are moving forward."

Sandy Alfred