GLOBAL SIKHS NewsFeed:
www.globalsikhs.org / www.snsm.org.my / www.wavesofmercy.com
Random Messages from Aceh
AS you may be aware, 19 volunteers on the third batch from GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY are already into their second week at Aceh, the worst hit area following the destructive waves of the Dec 26 tsunami.
All in, the first three teams involved more than 70 volunteers who have taken part in the humanitarian relief effort on the Indonesian island closest to Malaysia.
Besides the two areas where the team is actively engaged on the ground, GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY is keeping a close watch on the latest developments at Banda Aceh, where the United Nations and major aid agencies are based.
Chief de mission of the third team, Harbinder Singh, has made two visits from Sabang to Banda Aceh to ensure that the wok carried in places under the care of the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY is in sync with the wider picture of the relief work.
More important is to tap assistance in terms of material, medication and to ensure that the villages under its care will get the long-term assistance and care required.
Besides an eye on Banda Aceh, the third team is concentrating on two areas. The base camp is at Sabang, on the island of Pulau Weh, just north of Banda Aceh. Equipped with a deep sea port, the team made this their base as the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY operate on ships.
The second area of concentration is Paroe and its surrounding villages. This is the beach-fronting village, just about 20 nautical miles from Banda Aceh (the capital of Aceh, Sumatra). This is the village ‘found’ by the team 20 days after the tsunami struck. Until then, all the assistance that they had received was one airdrop.
In Sabang, Harcharanjit Singh (popularly known as Raja) and company are trying to cope with the unending demands of handling 12 internally displaced people’s camps.
(If I’m not mistaken, the total number of displaced people in these camps is somewhere around 7,000. We would be getting the figures soon. They keep increasing as more and more people are flocking from Banda Aceh and surrounding areas to this island, where the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY is the only aid agency at work).
Below are some emails sent out by Harbinder, who is a former jathedar of he SIKH NAUJAWAN SABHA MALAYSIA, the organisation spearheading the mission to Aceh. Harbinder runs his own company that conducts training and events.
FEB 3: I am fine and at Sabang, Pulau Weh at the moment. Things here are pretty ok. Very little damage as compared to main land Aceh. We have a lovely place and good local food.
The guys on board the ship are having interesting moments. Heavy rain and lorry stuck in the mud today. I'm going to Banda Aceh tomorrow. Back by French helicopter the same day. More help is coming in now. Soon we may move from food aid to rehabilitation, boats etc.
FEB 05: Thank you for the encouraging feedback about continuing the mission. Went to Banda Aceh today. The devastation the mainland is beyond compare to what is in Sabang. People here may soon have enough food even without our aid. But we can continue giving good nutritional food and medical personnel/drugs. I feel guilty that we (Global Sikhs) are not doing or are able to do more for people in areas like Paroe and Banda Aceh. Their conditions must be miserable life.
I understand that the UN may not get to Sabang for a very long time. The UN is handing out the same stuff we are and that too in selective place. They will come in and take over from NGOs doing food / health work until the NGO abandons the place.
We are all ok. Sean Paquito crew is ok too. Took my first helicopter ride from Banda Aceh to Sabang to bring back measles vaccines today. It was thrilling! Take care.
FEB 06: Late nights everyday-lah. Sleep at 3am up at 6am and on the feet all day. We are all getting along very well here. Everybody bonded closely. Got a skype call from Malkith today. Next mission may arrive next Friday.
May be going in to Banda Aceh again tomorrow for more meetings with UN and other bigger International NGOs. Things are starting to move now and we may just stop supplying rice after next team arrives. Will stay the night there and return to Banda Aceh on Monday.
Medical help is also getting to Paroh now. Soon (maybe by March) the roads may reopen and food cud be trucked in. May need to concentrate more on rebuilding boats, homes and give medical and education help. Pulau Weh is very remote and has few facilities.
Global Sikhs-Waves of Mercy: Background
WHO WE ARE
GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY is the name coined for the international relief effort to help the earthquake and Tsunami victims in Aceh, Indonesia. It is an informal grouping of Sikh and non-Sikh organisations worldwide that want to assist in the relief mission. While the mission platform carries the name Sikh, it is open to people from all races, religions and nationalities. We have, both on the mission and at the headquarters level, volunteers from various races, religions and nationalities.
The mission is spearheaded by Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (Malaysian Sikh Youth), a Malaysian-based 41-year old youth organisation. This is a registered NGO in Malaysia and has performed various community projects in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region. Website: www.snsm.org.my
Its key operational partner is the WAVES OF MERCY, a group of Langkawi-based sailors who have rallied together to make the ships available to carry forward the mission. It is led by Captain Hugo Crawford. Some of the sailors have lost their boats in the tsunami incident. Website: www.wavesofmercy.com
Its main international partner is the UNITED SIKHS, an international NGO with chapters in Europe, America and Asia. It has sent five of its members to Kuala Lumpur for the relief work in Aceh. In separate missions, UNITED SIKHS have also sent their members to Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. Website: www.unitedsikhs.org
- Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), Washington, USA
- Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (GGSF), Washington, USA www.ggsf.org
- Gurmat Learning Zone. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learning-zone/
- The Association of Sikh Physicians for Involvement, Response and Engagement (ASPIRE), USA
- Naujawan Sabha Melbourne, Australia
- Dya Singh World of Music
Our mission is to assist in the humanitarian relief operations in Aceh, Indonesia, in the most effective manner as possible. Funds raised and assistance rendered will go towards achieving the objective.
24-HOUR COMMAND CENTRE
GLOBAL SIKHS operates a round-the-clock control and command centre n Kuala Lumpur. Tel: ++ 603 - 2283 3713
||Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia - Tsunami Relief
||Bangsar Baru Branch
||66, 68 & 70, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar Baru, 59000 Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia.