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From the Field
Relief Workers' Report

GLOBAL SIKHS is an international relief effort to help the victims of the Tsunami in South East Asia. The mission is open to people from all races, religions and nationalities. The mission is a partnership between Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia, a 41-year old Malaysian-based youth organization, UNITED SIKHS, an international non-profit human development NGO, and Waves of Mercy, a group of Langkawi-based sailors. Our mission is to assist the humanitarian relief operations in Aceh, Indonesia, in the most effective manner possible.

(Jan 11 - Report 1)

AT this juncture, both ships on the GLOBAL SIKHS mission are already in the waters just outside Banda Aceh. The ships -- two large yatchs which left on Friday with 23 GLOBAL SIKH volunteers and 22 crew -- reached Pulau Weh (just north of Banda Aceh) on Saturday.

Yesterday (Jan 10), the third ship with additional supplies, linked up with them. After unloading its content, she began her return journey to Langkawi, 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 team, went on shore. The four -- Patty (owner of the boat), John, Rishiwant Singh 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, other 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 relief team that is mobile enough to move about. The ships at their disposal provide them 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 yet to be penetrated by aid workers.

However, bad weather can hamper their movement. Today, both ships have moved to Pulau Weh to seek shelter from the bad weather expected to descend upon Aceh.

"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 manning the command and control centre for the last few days.

Ever since word went out about the mission, many people have come forward to 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 are volunteers doing all kinds of activities -- packing and arranging medicines and food donated by well-wishers, a reception team to register volunteers, 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 information on the mission,. The lounge has a seating area and is equipped with television linked to international news channels like CNN and BBC.

As with any mission, funding is critical the continuation of the Aceh humanitarian relief task undertaken by GLOBAL SIKHS. The good news: people are already coming forward to engage themselves in the mission, either by giving us cash donations or in kind.

"We are also trying to tap into larger corporations and organisations. This mission will not go far without the required funding," says Jagdeep Singh, an energetic young member of the SNSM executive committee. Jagdeep, an accountant by practice, plays a key role in the GLOBAL SIKHS fund sourcing team.

To maintain transparency, GLOBAL SIKHS will publish the accounts for the mission. The accounts will be made available on its website, probably on a monthly basis.

If you would like to forward your donation for this tsunami disaster, GLOBAL SIKHS would be humbled to be he receipient. The necessary infromation will be made available on its website.

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