Indonesian Quake Updated News:

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

How to Provide Aid to Victims of Tsunamis [Initial items]

Initial items that you can consider donating (in kind or money to purchase) include:
  • Water purification tablets, and any other water purification tools
  • Oral Rehydration salts (Oralit)
  • Bleach, disinfectants, Carbol (disinfectant) Soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, talcum / calamine powder, sanitary napkins
  • First Aid medications, and over-the counter medicines for fever and diarrhea
  • Non perishable food, vitamins (especially for infants & children), rice, instant noodles
  • Buckets, and plastic water containers, garbage bags
  • Sheets, towels, hammocks, mosquito nets and any other linens / bedding
  • Any (if possible quick drying) clothing
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Tents & tarpaulins
  • Writing utensils


Please contribute what you can, in the best way you can.

A good format for immediate assistance is as follows:
  1. Purchase plastic buckets (pails, ember), with handle and top.
  2. Fill each bucket with small quantities of a variety of the most urgently needed non-food supplies (see list below).
  3. Write the contents of each bucket on the outside of the bucket, neatly in permanent marker pen, in Indonesian.
  4. Drop the bucket(s) off at donation drop-off points

RATIONALE: This format allows transportation of pre-sorted essentials to the stricken areas in Aceh. It is waterproof (once taped shut at the drop-off points by volunteers), pre-packed and durable. The goods are likely to get into the hands of individuals in the field more quickly, and in better condition than other formats. It precludes sorting in the field, in conditions which are not conducive to such processing (wet, muddy, disorderly). It allows easy distribution of a variety of most-needed supplies in a usable format and quantity directly to individuals and households.

MOST NEEDED: Water containers (the buckets themselves), waterpurification tablets, bleach, disinfectants, disinfectant cleaners (karbol, pinesol), soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, basic first aid supplies, medications for fever and diarrhea (Panadol, Oralit, etc), over-the-counter cold and cough medicines, wound disinfectants (Betadine), plastic garbage bags, vitamins, towels, mosquito repellents, coils and sprays, mosquito nets, sanitary napkins, bedlinens, cooking and eating utensils, candles, quick-drying clothing, torches and batteries, washing powder, anything else that you would find essential in such a situation, yourself (in compromised shelter, in the rainy season, without electricity or water supply).

Restrict contributions to supplies and brand names that an average member of an affected community in Aceh would be able to use without any further explanation or training whatsoever.Contribute only supplies that will be easily understood and are familiar.


At 5:08 PM, Blogger zhi said...

Thank you for the suggestion about packing all the material to be sent to Aceh in plastic buckets.

I am just gathering material from various sources and was about to buy cardboard cartons when I happened to see this message --will instead purchase buckets and pack all material therein


At 8:33 PM, Blogger Kaza said...

I live in th UK. Can you tell me where I can send the goods

At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have Pallet loads of frozen soup which has a 45 day shelf life if kept chilled which I would like to give to the aid. is this of any use and how do I arrange for the collection.
Helen Drake

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to help fishermen by donating to a charity which will ensure a fisherman receives a boat as soon as possible. Does anyone know of a charity involved in replacing boats for fisherman.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger LH said...

Unchecked influx of aid material can be dangerous too

I have been involved in logistical operations and in surveying the quality of various commercial shipments, and was greatly concerned by recent news reports of whole shipments of clothing sent to Indonesia as aid was found to contain household rubbish including torn-off women’s bras, and several large metallic engraved awards among other things! I think it is appropriate to be aware of hidden dangers some ‘aid’ material could pose.

I welcome and greatly appreciate all the sincere efforts made by the world community, renowned international organizations and the compassionate general public of many countries. Yes, it is an emergency situation, you have to rush aid to the suffering and to prevent further calamities like outbreaks of diseases etc. But still, no one should be allowed to dump unchecked god-knows-what in Sri Lanka and other tsunami hit areas -intentionally or unintentionally they may deliver damages as well. It seems that while some organizations could be dumping secondhand clothing, other countries and organizations are even trying to use these opportunities to get credit for ‘providing aid’, and to improve their image in the international community while dumping the stuff which could have been rotting in their backyards for years.

Are there any govt organizations controlling this aspect of the massive influx of aid materials in the affected countries:

I could identify some major threats:
- Clothing, toys and household items sent sometimes seems to be secondhand clothes and one has to be careful as any person with various easily transmittable decease as a skin deceases could have given them away. Usually, all European companies engaged in the SecondHand clothing trade are required to have a certificate of disinfect ion for each consignment. This usually gives details of how exactly the items had been disinfected. In Sri Lanka and Indonesia where the garments industry is thriving there shouldn’t be a problem for clothing the affected people as even aid money could be used to purchase them cleaner clothes. It would be a great shame and insult if children and adults in these countries are allowed to live in soiled used clothes and suffer from unknown long-term illnesses.
- Medicines and doctors –in some countries such as former soviet countries they have very poor quality drugs and medical care, which even their own citizen refuse to use. Also counterfeit drugs, products had been improperly stored, contaminate by infections and radiation and containing dangerous elements are wide spread.
- Medical equipment and supplies – could be defective, partly used, or some products could also be contaminated by various infections, radiation and contain dangerous elements.
- Food items, there are possibilities some products had been improperly stored, contaminate by radiation and contains dangerous elements.
- Building materials – could also be contaminated by radiation and can contain dangerous elements, asbestos dust and mercury etc.

It must be made compulsory to get a preliminary approval from a quality controlling organization in Sri Lanka (after a simple detailed checking of packing lists etc) before any consignment is shipped or air lifted to SL–they should ask for more specifications and clarifications if needed.

After arrival of shipments, each consignment should be inspect for radiation contamination –(Radiation level measuring equipment are small, and very easy to use, so it shouldn’t hamper the movement of aid materials to needed areas)
They should take samples from each consignment for later thorough tasting in a laboratory.

The other danger posed is to the security of these countries: The latest news I heard ( today 10th Jan) was of negotiations to charter several Russian Antonov cargo aircraft reportedly to deliver 1000’s of coffins to bury the victims…the other carriers are supposed to have refused to take this cargo…. Who would need so many coffins today (10th January) when the masses of the dead are already buried? Or, is it a pretext for some other type of delivery?


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