Still More in Need of Urgent Help in Aceh
Villagers with some 1,500 orphaned children
GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY, an international humanitarian relief effort for
the earthquake and tsunami victims in Aceh, Indonesia, is now busy assisting
survivors of a group of villagers that have been without food and medical
assistance from the outside world for some 20 days.
The GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY team found the group of villages in one of
its search and rescue mission on Friday, Jan 14. The group of villages,
close to the town of Lhok Seudu, is south of Banda Aceh and faces the Indian
According to mission estimates, there are some 1,500 children have been
orphaned following the undersea earthquake and tsunami on Dec 26.
"We saw children on their knees. As we approached them, they did not even
have the energy to stand up and walk towards us. It's a pitiful sight," says
chief de mission Mr Malkith Singh (who is currently at the village).
Initial reports from ground say that the villages have been badly devastated
by the tsunami. "The first kilometre from the sea shore was simply wiped
out," says Malkith Singh.
On the whole, the villagers are facing malnutrition due to lack of proper
food as they have been cut off from the rest of the world since the tsunami.
Initial reports suggest that the village only had one airdrop before being
spotted by the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY team last Friday.
"We have run out of medical supplies on board of our ship. We are now
waiting for replenishment. We will stay put until help comes," says Dr
George Latham, one of the medical 10 medical personnel on the mission.
Some emergency supplies were dispatched on a supply vessel, Vega 3, that
left Langkawi for Sabang, yesterday (Jan 15, Saturday). It took along more
than 10 tonnes of supplies, including rice, body bags, biscuits and
GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY, a relief mission spearheaded by Malaysian Sikh
Youth, also known as Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia, dispatched its first team
of relief workers on Jan 6. The team of 31 volunteers from Malaysia,
Singapore, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand went out on the mission on
board two yatchs. UNITED SIKHS, an international humanitarian organisation
with chapters in Europe, America and Asia, is one of its partner
Upon inspecting the local situation in Aceh, the team decided to set base
camp at Sabang, a town on Pulau Weh, north of Banda Aceh. The island itself
was spared by the more destructive waves of tsunami as it is surrounded by
The villages around Lhok Seudu were spotted by a team on board the Sean
Paquitto, one of the two vessels being used by the team. The vessels were
sourced by WAVES OF MERCY, a group of Langkawi-based sailors, some of whom
have themselves lost their ships in the tsunami incident.
"We have informed base camp in Sabang. They will be dispatching some
emergency supply via a fishing trawler. At the same time, we understand that
a Singapore navy ship is also on its way here with some supplies," says Dr
The GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY on board Sean Paquitto will not be able to
stay for too long at its position without new supplies. For example, the
water supply on board is enough for only the next five days.
"The most pressing need is medicine. We have informed the base camp that we
need urgent supply of malaria vaccines," says Dr Latham.
Sabang, Pulau Weh
Back at Sabang, the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY team is currently assisting
with the running of the Sabang hospital. The Sabang hospital lost five out
of its nine doctors who died in the tsunami attack.
One team has been dispatched to visit the various camps around the island to
provide medical assistance to the injured and also to inspect the people.
"Counselling is one of the needs of the day. We're getting through to the
villagers with the helps of translators. Next, we need to look into
rebuilding the place and giving the people their lives back," says Mr
Harvinder Singh, director of operations of GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY.
Next Mission, Training
In Kuala Lumpur, the next batch of 15 volunteers today ended a two-day
training session conducted at the Sabha House, headquarters of the Malaysian
Sikh Youth and also acting as the 24-hour command centre of the GLOBAL
SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY Aceh relief mission.
One of the trainers were Hanizam Abd Ghani, a lecturer and clinical
psychologist from the Faculty of Medical, Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan
For Mission II, there is an urgent need for more doctors and nurses. "Some
of the medical personnel who have registered with us are not able to go in
the next mission. We are looking for others," says Dr Tikfu Gee, who will be
part of the mission.
Dr Gee, a medical officer from the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, is
currently planning the medical supplies list for the second mission.
Those who like to assist can call the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY 24-hour
command centre at 03-22833713 or donate to Maybank Bhd A/C No 514123-434833,
payable to Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (Tsunami Relief).
(For media contact, please call Habhajan Singh at ++6016-3850062)