These past few days have really cleared up and everyone is commenting on how much better it is after the rains and breezes have cleared the air. Yesterday we could see patches of blue sky nestled in between puffy grey clouds and there is no longer a smokey smell in the air.
The Embassy is buzzing with talk about when to call back the Authorized Departure (AD). Some are starting to request to come back and that is based on an individual case-by-case decision made by the Administration and Management. But from the health perspective, air quality is still poor when compared to "normal" (although much improved). People with respiratory sensitivities such as asthma, allergies, or poor pulmonary function are still quite vulnerable to breathing problems and respiratory distress. Because of the AD, our number of patients requiring urgent care was greatly reduced.
In the Health Unit, we are trying to prepare for the influx of mass arrival when the AD is lifted. Anytime newbies arrive to Post, there is always an adjustment period that causes a lot of stress: new schools, language barriers, cultural differences, and new stressors of adaptation. We can expect the need to provide a lot of support to new arrivals and their families. The unforeseeable air pollution could pose some additional health problems. The Administration understands this and are therefore reluctant to raise the AD at this time. I suspect another week or more before they do. I'll try to post pictures shortly.