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Hurricane Katrina: Into the center of the storm

A group of 10 dedicated doctors and nurses packed up their necessities, thousands of dollars of medical supplies and equipment and flew out Saturday to Lafayette, La., to assist in relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

The group, part of the Christian Medical Response Team (CMRT), was contacted for their 13-day mission by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital Services according to CMRT director Dr. Daniel Diamond, a Silverdale physician.

“They’re delighted we’re coming,” Diamond said. “Right now, we’re going to be in a shelter in Lafayette where we’ll be relieving a group of medical workers who have been working without a break.”

The Silverdale-based CMRT started 11 years ago and is part of Northwest Medical Teams International, Inc. who work with state and county on emergency responses. Several of its 75 members have done relief work after Hurricane Pauline struck Mexico in 1997 and Hurricane Mitch, a class 5 hurricane, struck Honduras in 1998. They also have done relief work in India and Peru and provided medical services for Bumbershoot and concerts by the Grateful Dead and Metallica.

Now four doctors and six nurses are leaving their jobs at Harrison Medical Center, The Doctor’s Clinic, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Providence Medical Center to others as they go to help comfort the evacuees of one of the largest natural disasters in U.S. history.

“Our team has the capability to see 300 patients a day,” Diamond said, adding that the team will work 12 hours a day from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. until Sept. 16.

Lafayette, located northwest of New Orleans on Interstate 10 in the heart of Cajun country, has 8,500 evacuees inside the Cajundome and tens of thousands more are in hotel rooms and apartments throughout

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