Saturday, January 15, 2005

Report from AID Volunteer on Dalits

Please take a look at this report on relief and dalits (also known as "untouchables") in India. Pulled off of SEA EAT:

Srinivas Mirle of AID-Cincinnati reports:

Dalits comprise about 17% of India's population and continue to struggle to be included in mainstream India. They have been marginalized in India for ages and, surprisingly, they are not faring better even in the aftermath of the tragic tsunami disaster. This was evident from field visits that I made today with Ms. Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD to the tsunami-affected areas of Velankany, Nagapattinam and Kesavanpalem in Tamil Nadu. Ms. Shruti Parthasarathy, a volunteer from Bangalore who is working with AID on coordinating relief activities in the village of Kuttiyandyur, has also observed the Dalit denigration.

In the tsunami affected areas of Tamil Nadu, there are about 8000 Dalit families who live in about 95 hamlets. About 30 hamlets were severely affected and about 5000 huts have been washed away, according to Mr. Vincent Manohar of the NCDHR, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights.

UN calls for Gender-Specific Relief

Pulled off of SEA EAT:

The Indian Ocean tsunami may have made no distinction between men and women in the grim death toll it reaped with its waves but it has produced some very gender-specific after-shocks, ranging from women’s traditional role in caring for the sick to increased cases of rape and abuse, a United Nations agency reported today.

“Understanding and measuring these differences is essential for an effective response,” the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a news release, stressing the need to raise awareness on gender issues among decision- and policy-makers to ensure that women’s and men’s different needs are reflected in policies, practices and resource through the phases of relief, rehabilitation and development.

Read the full article at UN News Centre

Sri Lanka Government Providing Medium-Term Housing, Land

Pulled off of SEA EAT:

Sri Lanka has drawn up a plan to help tsunami victims that will include providing low income groups with land and houses free of charge, tax benefits and rations for at least six months, officials said Friday.

The preliminary report on government plans to help tsunami victims was Friday officially released. Some of the programmes have been put into effect by the authorities, but it is expected to fully come into effect only within the next week.

Read the full article at ReliefWeb.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Inmates at Canadian Prisons Donating to Tsunami Relief

From Reuters via Yahoo!News:

TORONTO (Reuters) - The tsunami disaster in South Asia has sparked widespread generosity in Canada, even among the nation's most hardened criminals, federal prison officials said on Wednesday.

Fourteen prisons across the country have raised money from their inmate populations to support relief efforts by the Red Cross and other aid organizations.

Although the C$4,200 ($3,500) gathered to date is low compared with some multimillion-dollar donations, it is still an incredible effort for prisoners who have little in the way of income, said Diane Russon, a spokeswoman for Correctional Services of Canada.

"Regardless of the amount, the idea that they're actually caring about (someone) other than themselves, and making the effort and the donation, is pretty remarkable," she said.

At the Mission Institution in British Columbia, 103 inmates, serving two years or more, raised C$2,011, said assistant warden Diane Mousouliotis.

Inmates signed a pledge form for amounts ranging from C$5 to C$400 to be debited from their work program accounts.

"It was the initiative of one of the inmates," said Mousouliotis, "and seeing the tragedy that had happened, they wanted to contribute in some way. They rallied to it."

A member of the prison staff rushed the check to the local Red Cross office to make sure it arrived before Tuesday's deadline for the Canadian government's pledge to match private donations, dollar for dollar.

Russon said inmates can earn up to C$6.90 a day in work programs for jobs such as kitchen duties or furniture making.

AP: Malaria About To Hit Aceh

Courtesy AP via Yahoo!News:

Health officials plan to go door to door and tent to tent with mosquito-killing spray guns beginning Friday to head off a looming threat that one expert says could kill 100,000 more people around the tsunami disaster zone: malaria.

The devastation and heavy rains are creating conditions for the largest area of mosquito breeding sites Indonesia has ever seen, said the head of the aid group anchoring the anti-malaria campaign on Sumatra island. The pools of salt water created by the Dec. 26 tsunami have been diluted by seasonal rains into a brackish water that mosquitos love.

While the threat of cholera and dysentery outbreaks is diminishing by the day because clean water is increasingly getting to tsunami survivors, the danger of malaria and dengue fever epidemics is increasing, said Richard Allan, director of the Mentor Initiative, a public health group that fights malaria epidemics.

The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami has topped 157,000 across 11 countries after Indonesia added nearly 4,000 more to its tally. Allan warned that an outbreak of malaria could take an additional 100,000 lives around the Indian Ocean if authorities don't act quickly.

"The combination of the tsunami and the rains are creating the largest single set of (mosquito) breeding sites that Indonesia has ever seen in its history," he said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Asked about World Health Organization (news - web sites) warnings that disease could double the tsunami death toll across affected areas, Allan said: "If anything, I think they are being conservative. Three-quarters of those deaths could be from malaria."

The World Health Organization said Thursday that seven cases of malaria have been confirmed in Aceh province. They are popping up now both because malaria season is just beginning and because a reporting system has been put in place over the last few days.

Relief workers in Aceh province on Sumatra island, meanwhile, warned that new rules requiring them to travel with armed escorts could cause bottlenecks in delivering aid and compromise their arms-length status from Indonesia's military.

"We discourage such actions because it blurs the distinction between humanitarian and military efforts here," said Eileen Burke of Save the Children.

Burke said her group has so far had no escorts — or problems — with their work in Sigli, about 60 miles from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.

Rebels who have waged a low-level war for a separate homeland in northern Sumatra for 30 years reaffirmed their commitment to a cease-fire they declared hours after the tsunami.

Still, there have been unconfirmed reports of isolated skirmishes between Indonesian soldiers and rebels since the tsunami.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the government welcomed the rebels' declaration of a cease-fire. "Of course we welcome it. Indonesia will also make efforts toward it," Kalla said in Jakarta, the capital.

Indonesia's moves — which include an order that aid workers declare their travel plans or face expulsion — highlight its sensitivities over foreign involvement in the humanitarian effort, especially that of foreign troops.

Indonesia wants foreign troops out of the country by late March. The United States has the largest presence by far in south Asia with about 13,000 troops — almost all offshore.

However, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Indonesian authorities had informed the United States there is no departure deadline for U.S. troops.

"Nobody is asking us to go home," Boucher said. "The Indonesian statement about three months, they tell us, was intended as an estimate about how long the military part of the operation might be necessary."

The Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday protested the restrictions on aid workers, which also apply to reporters. "Unrestricted access to information is absolutely crucial during this relief effort," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. "We call on Indonesian authorities to drop the restrictions immediately."

U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said the overall tsunami relief effort was progressing well except in Sumatra, where "huge problems" remain.

"It is still an uphill battle in the region," Egeland said in New York.

Survivors among the tens of thousands living in refugee camps in Banda Aceh have welcomed the foreign troops, who have been flying helicopter aid missions to otherwise inaccessible areas and running field hospitals.

"If they leave, we will starve," said Syarwan, 27, a tailor who is living with some 45 relatives under a tarp at a camp.

The cornerstone of the anti-malaria offensive is an insecticide spraying operation, where fumigators will walk from house to house in all neighborhoods of Banda Aceh.

They will spray the walls and put a small chalk mark on the outside of the front door as they leave so that no homes are left out and locations covered can be accurately mapped.

The tents in the refugee camps dotted around the city will also be sprayed, but those are home to only a tiny fraction of the population. Most people have been taken in by other families.

In communities along the west coast of Sumatra where almost all buildings were wiped out, the main defense will be pesticide-impregnated plastic sheeting, which villagers use for shelter.

"This will be the first situation where there is an incredible threatening epidemic and where if we get everything in place without obstruction ... we have a chance of stemming the starting point of an epidemic which otherwise will undoubtedly happen," Allan said.

Although malaria is endemic in the area, meaning it is widespread under normal circumstances and the local population is used to getting repeatedly infected, that does not provide protection from any outbreak that might emerge from the tsunami.

"They are even more likely to get sick. A lot of them have already got diarrhea, poor nutrition. They are stressed, they've got multiple infections already and their immune systems are weakened," Allan said. "Any immunity they had is gone."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

PHP and Java developers wanted

The Crisis Management Software project which is being run by a group of Sri Lankan open source developers could use some coding expertise. If you can hack in PHP or JAVA, why not give these guys a shout. The software is totally open source so you can take it, hack it and use it for your country as well.

Sanjiva Weerawarana, one of the developers, documents the process of coding on his blog. However, I've also written a little about the problems he faced during development in a blog entry of mine. Later on, another developer commented about how difficult it was to get the word out to the international community on this effort. I checked out their project page on SourceForge and found that their Activity Percentile was 94.64% last week. The Sri Lankan Open Source community seems to have really rallied around this project. The software was also officially adopted this week by the CNO as their Crisis Management Solution.
Personally I feel that this is one way the international programming community can really help with tsunami relief. I know that I'll be trying my best to help these guys out, even with the little php knowledge I have. So if you're a PHP or Java coder with a few hours to spare here and there, why not visit their project page and see how you can help out?

Progressive Sri Lanka Benefit in New York

Crossposted at SEA EAT. From Trishala, Audre Lorde Project:

The Audre Lorde Project is a co-sponsor for this event. We encourage all community members to support this event through attendance, donation, and/or spreading the word. In this time of grief and healing, we hope that our response as a community can be part of an international shift towards peace, the strengthening of progressive grassroots infrastructures, and equitable resource distribution for all who need it.


Saturday, January 15th @ 8pm

Tsunami Relief BENEFIT for Sri Lanka
EMBORA Movement and Wellness Studio
900 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY
btwn. Washington St. & Waverly Pl.
Take the C Train to Clinton-Washington

Support and raise awareness of innovative organizations helping communities rebuild in Sri Lanka. Instead of rebuilding the status quo, help to rebuild a country free of economic exploitation, bigotry and violence.

Benefit Performance begins at 8 PM

Performers include:
Singer/songwriter Gabby Callender
Mango Tribe's Varuni Tiruchelvam and Marian Yalini Thambynayagam
Songstress Chaney Sims
Dominican and Haitian rhythms by Pa 'Lo Monte

Dance Pary 'til 2 AM
dj:ayden -- soul, b-sides, rare international grooves
DJ Rekha -- bhangra, bollywood, hip hop

Door is Sliding Scale $10 - Whatever You Can Give
All proceeds go to progressive relief efforts in Sri Lanka

Proceeds Information

We have a list of 13 groups doing progressive and/or social justice relief work in Sri Lanka who we fully encourage folks donating to. Information for all of these groups will be available during the benefit. The following are groups we have prioritized: grassroots, community-based groups, and activists in sri lanka. Many of the groups are in severely affected areas where there is less infrastructure and relief is slow to reach.

Initiative Sunrise Lanka (ISL for Ampara, Eastern Province) -- a people-centered initiative in one of the worst hit and long impoverished villages in Sri Lanka made up of Tamil, Muslim, and Singhala communities, Panama(paaa-ner-mer).
The Women's Fund for Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction, Sri Lanka
Equal Ground -- an organization doing relief work that is also committed to equitable status for all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Jeeva Jothi in Batticaloa -- the only secular orphanage in Tamil speaking areas; older girls help run the orphanage.
The Suriya Women's Development Center in Batticaloa -- in addition to general relief, this organization also takes action on issues such as women's vulnerability to sexual abuse in refugee camps; works with Tamil, Muslim, and Singhala communitites.

If your organization is interested in co-sponsoring this benefit please contact Marian at yalini13 AT yahoo DOT com.

Wealthy Nations Failing to Come Through on Debt Relief

Write those letters and e-mails (see sidebar)! This isn't ever over. Excerpts from the BBC News article:

The Paris Club of rich creditor nations has offered to freeze the debts owed to them by countries affected by the Asian tsunami disaster...The Paris Club would be owed about $5bn (£2.7bn) in debt repayments this year...

Some development lobby groups, including UK aid agencies Oxfam and Action Aid, had urged the Paris Club to write off the debt altogether and not just defer the payments.
Oxfam said the Paris Club had failed to "take the bold steps needed on debt"...

Indonesia, one of the world's most indebted countries and the worst hit by the tsunami, has called for greater help...

Economists have warned that any debt relief must be structured carefully to avoid creating a heavier burden in the long-term. Wednesday's deal falls a long way short of this, involving only a deferment...A write-off was not thought to be under consideration even though the $5bn owing for 2005 would be, in purely financial terms, insignificant for the rich creditor nations.

Grassroots Rehabilitation Work


As the focus on South Asia transitions from relief to reconstruction, those wishing to support these efforts are looking for safe channels to send financial support. One organization, GlobalGiving has tapped into its existing network of grassroots level projects in South Asia to identify long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation projects.All of the projects are mission focused and specifc in their goals and expected outcomes. This seems like a great way to be a part of the rebuilding process, especially if you can't make the trip to South Asia yourself.

Visit the list of projects here.

NY Times: Indonesian military restricts movement in Aceh

I suppose it was inevitable given the early signals and the recent history of conflict and abuses in Aceh, but this action by the Indonesian government still makes me angry. From the New York Times by way of SEA EAT.

The Indonesian military on Tuesday ordered restrictions on foreign aid workers, limiting their free operation to the two main cities hit by the tsunami in an effort to assert control over international relief operations here. Outside those cities, Banda Aceh and neighboring Meulaboh, aid workers will need special permission to go into more remote areas where hundreds of thousands of people were uprooted by the disaster.


The general asserted that the new measures were needed to protect foreign aid workers from the separatist rebels that Indonesia has been fighting for 30 years. But rebels from the Free Aceh Movement, known by its acronym GAM, released a statement on Tuesday guaranteeing "the safety and free access to all parts of Aceh for international aid workers."Many foreign aid agencies, including the World Food Program, are generally reluctant to work with military escorts because they fear that accepting the protection of soldiers from one side could drag them into the conflict. Only in "very rare circumstances" does the World Food Program accept military escorts, said Bettina Luescher, the spokeswoman for the program. She pointed to Darfur in Sudan, where a civil conflict rages but where the program's trucks are never accompanied by military personnel.

Read the rest...

Sri Lanka Benefits in Atlanta, LA, and New York area

Crossposted at SEA EAT. Thanks to D'Lo for sending this:

Greetings, everyone.

As you may have already known, I had left Sri Lanka only hours before the Tsunami hit - only to return to the States to hear of the great devastation, including the death of a dear friend of mine and her mother.

I’m hella thankful that it wasn’t in God’s plan for me to be on the beach on the 26th of December (which is what normally is scheduled every year we go), but it made me hella sad not to be there to help. I am sure that the amount of hurt and feelings of helplessness was felt by all who identify on a national or ancestral level with the countries that got hit.

Immediately, a non-profit was formed by a friend and I to make sure that relief supplies and funds were going to the places in Sri Lanka that weren’t mentioned on the news or places that are hard to reach. Attached is a letter stating what it is that we are doing.

It’s funny, y’know. With so much corruption and everyday occurrences that reflect a lack of compassion from people, it is easy to lose faith in the human race. But what has happened to renew my faith has been the immense amount of love and support from close friends AND acquaintances as well as the community at large. It seems that everyone has donated something to the cause, whether it be money, supplies or food – and if they didn’t have much to give, the amount of volunteering has been heart warming. The aftermath of the tsunami has made many a people’s lives hectic with organizing aide to those countries affected and unfortunately there hasn’t been time for much else. I’m writing this letter to say thankyou to all of you who have shown their concern, empathized with and prayed for those of us who are going through this process of mourning- your love is not ignored and will not be forgotten.
If you didn’t know where Sri Lanka was, now you won’t forget. Unfortunately, on the negative side, the relief efforts have been at times overshadowed by the politics between the North and South. On a positive note, the organizing efforts have shown their faces through emergency non-profits and relief movements all over the world. Wanting to bring the larger Sri Lankan community together, I would like to share the different efforts that I am involved with so that you may find the time or money or supplies to donate to whatever you feel best fits your ability KNOWING that it will all go to a worthy and bridge-connecting cause.

Arts Events
Minneapolis – Jan 23
New York – Jan 15th (Brooklyn)
(shows being organized in both Los Angeles and New York) specifically for rebuilding/rehabilitation efforts for the months of March and April
Non- Profit – Aide to Sir Lankan Tsunami Victims

In solidarity and with love to all those who have lost people
and those who are dedicating their lives helping rebuild,

From Diasporaflow (arts org. in Minneapolis founded by 2 Sri Lankan Americans):

Over 47,000 Sri Lankans have died from the tsunamis and one million are homeless. Sri Lanka is in great need of financial support to aid the survivors and help in the rebuilding process. We are in a position of great power and privilege and with that privilege comes the responsibility to aid people who have been left injured and without shelter. Diaspora Flow, a Sri Lankan run 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization, has started an initiative called The Sri Lanka Relief Fund, a coalition of Tamil and Sinhala Sri Lankans committed to the long-term rebuilding of the lives of all Sri Lankans (Sinhala, Tamil, and Muslim) affected by this destruction. A benefit show will be held on January 23rd, We firmly believe in the power of art to create social change, please click on Benefit Show for more info. All donations will go to provide basic needs as well as long-term rebuilding projects in the Eastern Province. ALL funds will go directly to aid survivors, absolutely no overhead costs on our end or the volunteers doing the work in Sri Lanka.This has been one of the most traumatic times in the history of our country. The crisis has nothing to do with politics or ethnic conflict. This is a natural disaster that has affected everyone on the island. What took lifetimes to create was destroyed within a few hours. It will take years to rebuild the lives of the coastal regions. We urge everyone to donate in this time of great need.
If you have questions about the fund, email us at: please feel free to contact any of the people below:
Pradeepa 612-237-7670
Chamindika 651-489-8393
Vinothini (Vino) 763-443-1320
Amirthini (Amu) 763-639-6833


Diaspora Flow presents a Benefit Show forThe Sri Lanka Relief Fund Sunday, January 23rd 7 pmreception following showsliding scale : $10-to as much as you want to give!!!!!Coffman Memorial Union Theater at the University of Minnesota 300 Washington Ave. S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55455

We're deeply grateful for the donation of time from all artists, but especially those coming out of state/country, taking days out of their schedule:
D'Lo, Sri Lankan performance artist from L.A. will also MC the evening.
Rose of the music group Lal, from Toronto.
participating local artists:
DJ Don Cuco Sri Lankan
composer/musician Manjunan GnanaratnamSri Lankan
visual artists Chamindika and Sumitra Wanduragala, whose posters will also be raffled off for the fund
Sri Lankan dancer/choreographer Pradeepa Jeevamanoharan in collaboration with dancer Annelize Machado


Dear Friends and Family,

As you by now are aware, the tsumani that washed over much of South and South East Asia and parts of Africa has devastated humanity in many ways.
1) Almost 120,000 to date are dead.
2) Over nine major nations have been severely affected.
3) 5 million people are at risk without food, shelter, or water.

Sri Lanka's death toll stands at 45, 000 people. Over 15,000 people are missing. Over one million people are homeless.

In affirmation that we are indeed one world, our brothers and sisters from various nations have stepped up to the plate in organizing various relief efforts. In solidarity and fueled by the pain and suffering of our ancestral home, Aide to Sri Lankan Tsunami Victims was created.
Aide to Sri Lankan Tsunami Victims was organized in Los Angeles by Nisha Rodrigo and D'Lo, both Sri Lankan Americans from opposite sides of the tracks (Nisha being Singhalese and D'Lo being Tamil). Maintaining a friendship over years, the decision to create the organization for the sole purpose of relieving the suffering in their homeland, was immediate and without question.
As the stories have unfolded, we are realizing large relief organizations, while successful in obtaining funds and supplies, have been struggling to administer distribution on a local level. Consequently, victims are still without food, water, clothing, shelter, and comfort. ATSTVs' efforts are to ensure that supplies and funds will get to where they are needed most through ground-level grassroot teams.

Unable to stand by complacently and realizing aide is not reaching victims in time, teams have taken it upon themselves to travel to remote areas in need. These teams are comprised of people who have experienced the horror first-hand and were fortunate to escape with minimal physical loss.

Enclosed with this email, is a direct account of one grassroot team's efforts to save lives. More importantly, the account demonstrates the dire need to deliver aid to parts of the country you have not yet heard from. While there has been ample coverage of the Tsunami effects on the southern regions of Sri Lanka, there has been none on that of the north or northeast. It is crucial to mention due to the ongoing civil war, these provinces are far more challenging to travel to and therefore report from. In desperate need of our support, these teams are dedicated to saving people trapped in the wreckage, without food or clean water.
ATSTV vehemently asks the people of the world to donate money, clothing, food and water for this cause. This natural disaster has affected each of us differently. The common goal we now have is to heal so many nations in our global community. All of us have experienced adversity and struggle in our own right. We have endured it with the help of others. We cannot recover from this in a vacuum. It will take a united front to relieve this magnitude of suffering. Please help us bring hope back to a nation without any.
Financial donations should be made out to the order of: Aide to Sri Lankan Tsunami Victims (Tax Deductible)
Monetary or any other donations such as medicine, and blankets should be sent/dropped off:
Shakti's Elements
717 Broadway Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
tel: (310) 576-2008
cell: Nisha (310) 200-6353
D'Lo (310) 576 5696

Nisha & D'Lo

Monday, January 10, 2005

Great Resource On Grassroots efforts In Asia

Crossposted at SEA EAT. Jess passed along information for Asia Coalition for Housing Rights, which apparently has a well developed network across most of the affected countries and is providing information from a grassroots perspective. It's well worth looking into, particularly for the Thailand news, which, as you all know by now, has been heavily squashed in favor of coverage of how tourists were affected. A couple of excerpts:

For the international community, I think it is important to start combining the issues of RELIEF with JUST AND APPROPRIATE REHABILITAION and LAND issues. It will be great and extremely helpful if UN-Habitat or UN in general, can make cautious and constructive remarks to the affected governments on this point.
For INTERNATIONAL AID AGENCIES, it will be good if you can take up the LAND issues agenda and link it with the relief issues. For international MEDIA, we should start trying examine and raise this HIDDEN ISSUE.
If we take up this issue TOGETHER - it may well turn this unfortunate crisis into an opportunity for a just and proper community rebuilding, rehabilitation - if we now look beyond just relief and mere physical rehabilitation....


3. In Thailand , at this moment, we are also trying to mobilize planner/architects to develop with those affected - alternative plans for communities to reconstruct communities in the same locations. It is very important for sensitive planners/architects to provide and promote constructive new possible forms of change - to governments and society. The challenge is how this new - people sensitive planning - can be done in such a way to solve not only the affected community's serious emerging needs, but also produce a better local environment and meet the needs of the communities, towns and cities; how real human and social qualities - that existed before the tsunami - can continue - and be strengthened; how justice can prevail for land. This is the big task ahead of us now. If we look at Asian conventional systems and power structures, this will NOT be a small task at all.


or contact them:
Phone 662 538 0919 Fax 662 539 9950
73 Soi Sonthiwattana 4, Ladprao 110, Ladprao Rd Bangkok 10310, THAILAND

Information and appeal from grassroots Indonesian organization

A grassroots Indonesian organization (as far as I can tell), UPC, sends out an appeal and

Jan 4

From UPC Jakarta

It is, indeed, the first time in the lives of most of us to witness such calamity. We are now mobilising all possible resources for relief activities. Social solidarity is very high, practically everybody is doing what they can to give assistance and support -- even the poorest communities in urban areas collecting their donation. Unfortunately, the government, who assumes coordination function, is very slow and not effective. Dead bodies are still scattered all over, and as of today the military can only handle those in major streets in Banda Aceh, the capital city of Aceh. Many dead bodies in the back allies, behind and under ruined buildings still stay as they are. Transport facilities to send food, water and other urgent needs are very limited.

At the moment, the Urban Poor Consortium/ Linkage, is mobilising aids and supports as well as volunteers. We concentrate on two focuses, relief actions and recovery programs. For relief action, with financial assistance from Misereor, we are sending tons of food, drinking water, medicines, blankets and others to Aceh and North Sumatra. Also, in coordination with the NGO networks, we set up aid centres both in the disaster areas and in major cities in Indonesia. Yesterday, we managed to send 2 tons of plastic sheets for corpses from Jakarta to Banda Aceh; today, we have to fight very hard to get our 6 tons of liquid milk be trasported, we finally got the space for 6.30 am tomorrow, 2 Jan. Today, we decided to send the rest of the stuff , around 30 tons of different things such as biscuits, drinking water, blankets, medicines, sanitary napkins for women, antiseptic soaps, etc. from Jakarta by sea -- a journey of three days. Donation such as used clothes and others from the urban poor networks all over the country are transported through the Aid Centre of NGO Coalition Network in Jakarta. In order to get the transport facilities, we have to rely on high level contacts in the government. It is not a matter of corruption but lack of coordination and verry slooow action from the government's part.

I agree that we have to think ahead, to start preparing ourselves for the recovery stage, especially when the business community is all ready to take all the reconstruction projects of the ruin cities and areas. I was informed that the younger brother of the Vice President has all ready with plans and proposal and funds for the recovery projects. We need all the possible and concrete ideas as to what to do in this stage. We would welcome not only concept and ideas, but also technical assistance and experts to come and sit and work with us to soon plan for it.


News on Aceh 8

Diseases Threaten People

Generally, the condition of Banda Aceh, the capital city of Aceh,is getting better. Economic Activitiy starts again. However, danger still threaten the population. The failure of the evacuation team to achieve of goal to bury 6000 corpses a day and problems on sanitation and hygiene make the population in danger of cholera epidemic as well as other disease.

Until 4 January, there are still many corpses piled up under ruins, especially in isolated areas.

It has detected many people who infected by lung disease, especially children. Many people who have been evacuated to other city (Medan and Jakarta), have reported dead because of the limit of oxygenic for medical operation as well as on airplane.

In isolated areas such as in west coast, small health problem can easily transform into big one. Scrape or contusion can become a dangerous infection spreading into entire body. Lack of nutritious food weakens body and make people easily attacked by fever. People with hurt fester or Pneumonia, a lung infection that can be caused by germs, is everywhere. Bone fracture which in normal condition is not dangerous can cause a death because it leads to decaying of body. In this case, amputation is become the solution to save the patient

Evacuation of wounded people were carried out by Indonesian as well as international volunteers using a USS Abraham Lincoln helicopter. In 4 January there are 43 people have been evacuated from west coast of Aceh. However, when volunteers bring them to Kapesdam Hospital, they have to face a very chaotic situation. There are many corpses left unmanaged. This situation makes the hospital looks very dirty, and it upsets the patients.

Only 60% of the evacuation process succeed because military often gives wrong coordinate points. It is worsened by the people themselves which often have doubts to be evacuated and need to be convinced first. Helicopter also can not stay long time in one point since many people always approach asking for food. In each points, there are two to ten persons wounded.

It also has been detected many people suffer from serious condition of scabies it which can not simply treated using anti-itch powder. Oral medicine is urgently needed. If this disease is not overcome quickly, it will spread among the people since those who live in the same camp-share toilets and water.

It is also worsened by the general situation of the camps which are surrounded by stagnated water which in the near future will cause spreading of malaria, cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea. Such diseases can spread rapidly since there is the limit of toilet facility, water, as well as cooking equipments.

Many children suffer from diarrhea because they have to drink water which is not cooked properly. The lack of stove make people have to cook water quickly to give others opportunity to do so. This make water never boiled properly.

Health logistics needed,
Oxygen 100 units
Anti-itch salves
Other health logistics, sanitary and hygiene equipment (disinfectants, etc) and medicines such as antibiotic, norit, oralit, etc, need to be supplied continuously.

Source: report of Tim Relawan Kita-Forum LSM Aceh,
January 3, 2005.

Jan 4
From Johan Silas
In Indonesia we are still concentrating on the rescue effort.

Meanwhile at ITS (Surabaya) we are preparing quick construction housing model as the need is great, but most areas are not accessible by ordinary means.

And we have a new ministry for housing. meaning that every thing has to start from scratch, including the budget. ITS have given him our full support.

Yours, Johan SILAS

Jan 4 from UPC - Received Jan 5



A team consists of volunteers, militaries, and government officers work hard and mobilize all available resources to achieve target to bury 6000 corpses a day. By 1 January, 12,383 corpses have been evacuated in Banda Aceh and 8,500 in areas outside of Banda Aceh.

This is far from death toll which has reach 94,081 by 3 Januari according to .

The team must do their work quickly because rotten corpses which have not been buried will endanger population.

Diseases such as, diarrhea and fever, haunt refugees. Report of Aceh NGO Forum on 3 January said that in camp of Jembatan Lamnyong, Darusallam, where 300 people live, two refugees dead in four days because of diarrhea. In Cot ilie, three babies dead and one person wounded.

The condition of refugees is worsened by inadequate supply of water and sanitation. If this situation continues and accumulates with limited food, poor quality tents, and inadequate of medicine and doctors, health condition of refugees is in big danger.

Donation for Aceh can be sent to:

Urban Poor Consortium - Konsorsium Kemiskinan Kota
Billy Moon Blok H-I/7 Jakarta 13450,
Phone: 62 - 21 - 8642915,86902407
Fax: 62.21.86902408.

Bank Account
Konsorsium Kemiskinan Kota
account number: 230-3000097
BCA KCU Kalimalang
Jl. Tarum Barat Blok E no. 5