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02/11/05 12:00AM
Total Collected:
US$ 69,122.10

Summary Updates
by Saiful Mahdi

January 25, 2005 - uploaded 02/11/05 11:50PM

¬[01/24/05] [02/03/05]®

8:30am. Reconvene at People Crisis Center. Today we will have a big delivery of supplies. My old friend since middle school, Eko Fariadianto, 37, an Acehnese student studying in Germany, was so excited to come along with one of PCC’s distribution pick-up trucks. Indeed, there is no greater encouragement in this very difficult time for us than looking at the shining eyes and slight smiles of people we are helping. But I could not join the supply of deliveries today as I had to meet my dean and others at the university. Eko came later at around 10:30pm when I’d already left for Darussalam. But I got these pictures from his camera (pictured by Eko and other volunteers)

9:15am. I met some of my colleagues at College of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, where I have been teaching since 1993. Some with grim stories like I have been hearing every day--losing loved ones, houses, and not being able to find the dead bodies of their loved ones. No matter how traumatic things are in Banda Aceh, being there with many who share the same fate, I think, should ease one faster then being alone. Whenever you think about your missing loved ones, you think that you are not alone and not the only family with grievances in Banda Aceh. I met one administration staff member who lost his two kids, and his house and has to struggle caring for his wife who gulped too much dangerous tsunami water.

My Dean, a Ph.D. from Japan is an amazing man. Frustrated like others about our university’s slow response, he has committed himself to helping with daily relief work at shelters. He is in his office from 8am to 2pm as official office hours in Aceh, helping staff, lecturers and students and reporting back to our college. After that he is also working as much as possible at shelters until late at night. He also sent his family away to Surabaya in East Java so he can work most of his hours for society without worrying his own family.

11:40am. I was still in Darussalam meeting personally with my dean. We discussed what roles we can play as members of a university community. To my surprise, he was not optimistic in expecting a leading role from the university. The long red tape and a big-slow system make the university not very responsive to the destruction and calamity of the tsunami. What a pity!

Eko, my other boy-scout teammate when we were in middle school, was ready to depart with aid supplies from the PCC office and warehouse. He came back from Germany to directly buy and distribute supplies with donated money from communities in Munich, Germany.


The small pick-up trucks deliver supplies to IDPs staying at their relatives around Banda Aceh and Aceh Besar. Many of these IDPs did not get support as they did not stay in official shelters. They chose to stay away from crowded shelters so they can better protect their small children, women, and elderly.


Seeing smiling faces of IDPs and other victims of the tsunami, brings joy to your own hearts. Eko is directly giving supplies we bought to one of the affected families.


We based our distribution on the number of households, household members, ages, and sex. Females receive women’s special needs, children get milk, children’s clothes, and school supplies when available, for example. Some of the supplies were bought by a fund raised in a community in Munich, Germany where Eko is studying.

Around 2pm. I got back to PCC with a friend from my college. The post was busy as usual. Some people were at the bulletin board, reading and still hoping to find loved ones.


Notes from surviving family members searching for love ones. We are keeping a database of missing and found love ones. We also provide PCC visitors with information of hospitalized victims in Medan that we receive from our networks.


A mother with two kids showing a photograph of her other missing child. Our volunteer is placing a Vitamin A bracelet on one of the girls after she was administered Vitamin A.

When I reached PCC, I was told that my village folks were waiting for me at their shelter for our first scheduled village meeting after tsunami. They sent somebody to remind me about the meeting. I know I was late, but I did not forget about the meeting. There are just too many things to do and too many people to serve when you are around the PCC site. So, off I went to Gedung Sosial, about half mile from the PCC site to join the meeting that I’d proposed earlier when I first met my village folks.


Abubakar Ishak, 40, was officially elected our new village leader.

People attending the meeting asked to say something. I said I basically want our village to keep united and be strong together. Especially, I mentioned our obligation to do something about the corpses in our village. Some of the meeting conclusions are:

  1. Pak Abu is democratically elected as our interim new village head;
  2. Everybody wants to go back to Blang Arafah, our destroyed neighborhood in Punge Jurong V.
  3. Next steps and agreements:
    1. Continue village member registration
    2. Property registration, i.e. house and land
    3. No division into smaller neighborhoods is needed in terms of fighting for our rights after tsunami
    4. We need to seek funding to restart our trade activities as a majority of our village members are merchants at Banda Aceh’s central market
    5. If relocated, we want to be relocated close to the market as our way to make a living.
    6. Single men and women are encouraged to get married among our own villagers (a big laughter follows….)
    7. There is a three month old baby in our village custody after being left behind by its parents (sex was not mentioned to test anybody claiming to be its parent). Until somebody was determined to be the real parent, the baby will be in village custody
  4. There is information about some of our villagers being in Medan that needs to be further clarified
  5. All agree to work together on doing our part in taking care of the corpses in our village. We will work together starting tomorrow at 9am. Villagers will help clean up the rubble, but we will need an evacuation team to remove the corpses. (I was asked to find an evacuation team and will support supplies for the work)
  6. We agreed to start our “gotong royong” that is, working together, from our mosque and move around our village from there

If temporary shelters are to be provided, we want them right on the land of our destroyed village.
After the meeting, I went directly to the Indonesian Red Cross central command post to ask for an evacuation team to come to our village tomorrow. I assured them that the villagers will be there to work together with them. Our assured participation might have helped the red cross team to agree to help us tomorrow. The team leader promised to call later that night.

7:20pm. I went back to PCC command post.


I saw some of our volunteers taking a break together, chatting and laughing.

Around 9:30pm. I received a telephone call from the Indonesian Red Cross logistics chief informing me that one evacuation team would be assigned to our village tomorrow and that he wanted one of us to come to their post in the morning to show the way to our village. A big relief for me as I would fulfill my promise to my villagers. Tomorrow will be a busy day.

¬[01/24/05] [02/03/05]®