Nfld. & Labrador

Typhoon emergency hospital stitched in Newfoundland outport

Workers in a coastal community in southern Newfoundland put in long hours through the weekend to fill a special order: an inflatable hospital to help people devastated by last month's Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Philippines-bound inflatable building made in a matter of days

A company in Grand Bank, N.L., is making an emergency hospital in days, reports Vik Adhopia 2:13

Workers in a coastal community in southern Newfoundland put in long hours through the weekend to fill a special order: an inflatable hospital to help people in the Phillippines who have been devastated by last month's Typhoon Haiyan.

Work at the Dynamic Air Shelters plant in Grand Bank kicked into high gear a few days ago, when it received the order from Global Medic, the disaster response agency.

Tyler Butt: 'It’s pretty cool that a small community like Grand Bank can build these shelters and ship them off to people in need.' (CBC)
"It's pretty flat out," said Tyler Butt, one of the workers who pulled long shifts to get the job completed.

"It's been pretty hectic — lots on the go. We're trying to cut a building here in four days," said Butt, 20, a cut-table operator who has also installed shelters in Trinidad and Alberta, but never in a disaster zone.

Jim House, a business development executive with the company, said there was a special resonance with the order, because the woman who designed it at the company's Calgary office still has family in Sara, the very town on Panay Island where the structure will be erected.

"That kind of rocketed through our company here in short order," House told CBC News.

"As a result of that, each stitch being sewn has a bit of a personal touch."

'Hits close to home'

Seamstress Renea Clarke said the project has been a special one.

Workers at a plant in Grand Bank, N.L., have been making an inflatable hospital to serve people in a Phillippines town injured during November's Typhoon Haiyan. (CBC )
"This kind of hits close to home," she said. "One of our designers, her mother lives in the Philippines, so this is a good opportunity to show we're backing her and supporting her in all ways. Everybody is really dedicated to get it done and done [well] .... and done safe."

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is helping to pay for the project, with a contribution of $150,000.

The hospital will have walls of heavy PVC-coated nylon, and will be propped up by large, inflatable arches. The same shelters have been built in other disaster zones in Pakistan and Indonesia.

One of the pieces of the shelter will include the flag of Newfoundland and Labrador, a gift from one island to another.

"It's pretty cool that a small community like Grand Bank can build these shelters and ship them off to people in need," Butt said. 

With files from Vik Adhopia

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