Agam's Gecko
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

he Indonesian communities and organisations in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area have launched a relief effort in cooperation with the Indonesian Embassy in Washington. The website is Indonesia Relief, and I've added this link along with a short newsfeed to the top of our sidebar. There is information there on how to contribute to the effort, including a convenient online facility for contribution by PayPal account or credit card. As this is a volunteer effort, it seems to be a good way to channel resources directly to the region, without also supporting the large administrative overhead of many international mega-charities. I found out about Indonesia Relief this morning, in an interview on News Hour with the Indonesian Ambassador to the US, Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat (himself a native of Yogyakarta).

As the international assistance ramps up, so is the casualty figure. This morning, Metro reported the deaths have surpassed 5,400, with more than 3,000 of those in the Bantul regency. The Indonesia Relief website offers a few picture galleries, including this map of the Yogyakarta Special District, showing the ancient monuments, Mount Merapi and other locations mentioned previously. MediaCenter is the place to go for checking the missing persons list, or submitting information to it.

It's been raining down there, pretty heavily last night. Refugees are huddling under tarps or whatever shelter they can find. Hospitals are attempting to operate at a level about 5 times their capacity, according to the Ambassador this morning. The most pressing needs appear to be lots more tents, and lots more medical manpower and supplies -- and some mobile field hospitals would sure help. A lot of this has been pledged or sent already, but coordination on the ground is not what it should be (according to a strongly worded Media Indonesia "Evening Editorial" last night on Metro).

The first foreign team I've seen on the media coverage of rescue efforts, has been a group sent by the Republic of China, using hi-tech equipment and trained dogs to search for trapped survivors. The ROC, also known as Taiwan, is a good neighbour who often goes unrecognised. So let's recognise them here. Wai to the good people of ROC.

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