GLOBAL SIKHS: MISSION IN ACEH
(Jan 11 - Report 1)
AT this juncture, both ships on the GLOBAL SIKHS mission are already in
waters just outside Banda Aceh. The ships -- two large yatchs which left
Friday with 23 GLOBAL SIKH volunteers and 22 crew -- reached Pulau Weh
north of Banda Aceh) on Saturday.
1. SHIPS IN ACTION
Yesterday (Jan 10), the third ship with additional supplies, linked up
them. After unloading its content, she began her return journey to
an island on the north-west of the Peninsular Malaysia.
The two GLOBAL SIKHS vessels and the Rainbow Warrior belonging to
international environmental group GREENPEACE are the only three civilian
ships out in the waters of Banda Aceh. A couple of miles further, our
volunteers can see the giant US navy carrier.
Yesterday, four volunteers from ship one, carrying mostly the medical
went on shore. The four -- Patty (owner of the boat), John, Rishiwant
and Dr Jaswant Singh -- were tasked with the job of finding out more
information to map out the next phase of the mission.
They spent a couple of hours on land, talking to Government bodies,
aid agencies and local leaders.
GLOBAL SIKHS is spearheaded by SIKH NAUJAWAN SABHA MALAYSIA
and UNITED SIKHS, a global non-profit, non-governmental human-development organization, under their GHANAIA Tsunami Relief Project, along with a Langkawi-based sailors group called WAVES OF
MERCY; and they have one advantage -- they are about the only independent aid
team that is mobile enough to move about. The ships at their disposal provide
with an added advantage -- they could go to areas that other aid workers
will find it difficult to reach, unless with aeriel help.
As it is, reports are still filtering in that some areas of Aceh have
be penetrated by aid workers.
2. BAD WEATHER
However, bad weather can hamper their movement. Today, both ships have
to Pulau Weh to seek shelter from the bad weather expected to descend
"The weather is worsening. The ships will move to Pulau Weh for safety
ebfore embarking on its next mision," says Paramjeet Singh from the
engineerig division of Malaysia Airlines (MAS). Paramjeet has been
the command and control centre for the last few days.
Ever since word went out about the mission, many people have come
volunteer their services. The energy level is high and excitement is all
around. Volunteers are coming from all races and religions.
The Sabha House, the headquarters of SNSM, is packed with people. There
volunteers doing all kinds of activities -- packing and arranging
and food donated by well-wishers, a reception team to register
the 24-hour command and control centre, and a host of other activities.
The GLOBAL MISSIOM has created a lounge and information centre at Sabha
House. Visitors and volunteers will be able to get the latest
the mission,. The lounge has a seating area and is equipped with
linked to international news channels like CNN and BBC.
4. LOUNGE AND INFORMATION CENTRE
As with any mission, funding is critical the continuation of the Aceh
humanitarian relief task undertaken by GLOBAL SIKHS. The good news:
are already coming forward to engage themselves in the mission, either
giving us cash donations or in kind.
5. MISSION FUNDING
"We are also trying to tap into larger corporations and organisations.
mission will not go far without the required funding," says Jagdeep
an energetic young member of the SNSM executive committee. Jagdeep, an
accountant by practice, plays a key role in the GLOBAL SIKHS fund
To maintain transparency, GLOBAL SIKHS will publish the accounts for the
mission. The accounts will be made available on its website, probably on
If you would like to forward your donation for this tsunami disaster,
SIKHS would be humbled to be he receipient. The necessary infromation
be made available on its website.