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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.

Still More in Need of Urgent Help in Aceh
(Jan 16)

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 Ocean.

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 medicines.

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 organisation.

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 deep sea.

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 Latham.

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 Malaysia (HUKM).

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. Funding
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)

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