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First day in the disaster area

Massive destruction and great challenges

by Steffen Richter, Lisa Wolff, 2018/10/03

Our three brave intervention team members Yvonne Michel, Daniel Warkentin and Dr. Markus Hohlweck have already passed their first day in the disaster area. Together with helpers from our local partner Alpha & Omega Foundation they have visited Palu today to gain an initial overview of the outcome of the disaster. Unfortunately, their conclusion is devastating: the destruction is massive and the challenges for the afflicted people and the supporters enormous.

"It was a really sad moment for me to see this demolition with my own eyes." admits Daniel Warkentin. Although the 29-year old nurse from Rengsdorf, Germany has already seen a lot in his altogether six relief interventions for humedica, these pictures left a lasting impression. "Where the tsunami has hit, the impact is particularly heavy. Further inland, the extents of devastation caused by the earthquakes are varying.”

The exploration today brought also other insights for the mixed team from Indonesia and Germany with regard to the most urgently needed relief measures. "The coordination centres, too, told us in clear terms that the distribution of supply goods has top priority.", reports Dr. Markus Hohlweck. "According to this estimation we will plan the distribution to families. We will also go to the surrounding areas to check the situation in detail on site. We will carry drugs with us so that we are able to provide medical aid if needed. But our focus will be on the sufficient provision of the population with food and drinking water."

The Indonesian government also communicated clearly that at the moment a so-called EMT intervention is not necessary. That means for humedica, as well as for the other three certified German organizations, that its EMT-team is on stand-by. At the moment we have also not finally decided whether we will send out further humedica intervention team members to support the three helpers on site in Palu. Currently, also these team members are on stand-by.

"It is evident that the affected regions urgently need various forms of support." says humedica general manager Wolfgang Groß, who heads the implementation of the intervention since the weekend. " Even after several days it is still difficult, due to the extensive destruction, to gain a conclusive overview – for both the official helpers and for us."

But all involved humedica employees and volunteers agree in seeing this uncertainty not as cause for insecurity. "Thanks to our decade-long experience we are ready for many scenarios, we are constantly talking to other friendly organizations and institutions on site, we are building networks. We do all this to provide the best possible help for the needy people on site to the best of our ability." Groß continues.

The supporting team in the humedica headquarters in Kaufbeuren is certain that in the next days it will become clearer which form of help will possibly be needed. Wolfgang Groß comments: "Our experience shows that the coordination after such enormous disasters is very difficult until, finally, a turning point is reached; and then the full potential of the engaged humanitarian organizations will be ready to be called up anytime.”

humedica asks everybody for further targeted support for this challenging intervention via humedica.org/spende. The organization will provide further information on all its well-known channels.

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