News

Indonesian Red Cross Workers Fight to Help Aceh's Disaster Victims

Nancy-Amelia Collins

I ndonesian Red Cross workers are battling to save lives and deliver aid to refugees in remote regions of Aceh Province. More than 100,000 people may have perished in Aceh after a massive earthquake triggered tsunami waves that destroyed dozens of communities. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins is in Lhoknga, Indonesia, with the Red Cross.

Dr. Hanifa Alia only recently graduated from medical school. Now, she is using her new skills volunteering to help thousands of victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Indonesia's Aceh province.

She travels every day with a small team of Red Cross volunteers, including her physician father, Hanifa Ali, to remote regions of the province looking for people who need aid.

The younger Dr. Hanifa says she feels compelled to help, but her eyes tear in frustration as she treats the wounded in a makeshift refugee camp in Lhoknga, an hour's drive west along the coast from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.

"They need medicine, they need help, they need everything," she says.

Her father has been a doctor for more than 30 years in Aceh province and has seen his share of horror caring for the victims of the province's 27-year-old separatist war.

But Dr. Hanifa Ali says he has never seen human suffering on the scale he has experienced since giant waves smashed into the coastline on December 26.

Like many people in this devastated region, Dr. Hanifa's own family was devastated by the tsunami waves - at least 20 of his relatives died. But he says these losses have galvanized him into action to care for those who still live.

The district of Lhoknga was flattened by the waves. Officials say that only 7,000 of its 25,000 inhabitants survive.

It is only in the past few days that the Indonesian military has been able to clear the roads. Before that, the volunteers picked their way through the debris on foot, burying corpses and giving aid to survivors. The team lacks even the most basic supplies.

In the forest of Lhoknga, where the survivors have set up camp, dozens of the sick and wounded line up for treatment.

While international aid is slowly starting to reach the refugees, the older Dr. Hanifa worries about the future.

"And then next year we need housing, of course - they have no houses, they stay, maybe I don't know long time they stay here, we don't know," he says. "They have no power to build their house, they have no money, they have nothing. I don't know, this confuse our people and also doctors is confused."

The Red Cross and Red Crescent teams have been hampered by the organization's own losses - many people who have volunteered in the past died in the disaster. Most of Aceh's doctors also perished.

Dr. Hanifa Ali says despite these difficulties, he and his team will soldier on.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs