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  Volume 4 - Issue 07 JULY 2006
 
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GIFTS OF LOVE AMIDST DEATH AND DEPRESSION IN INDONESIA

The story of how the Sai volunteers reached out to the survivors
of the devastating earthquake in Indonesia from the very next day after the disaster
and gave them comfort, solace and love…


“Initially, I was very sad and frightened when the earthquake struck. My home was no longer standing. I could only see planks of wood here and there. There was no food or water. My family was starving and no one was helping us. I was so happy when the people from Sai Baba came to help us. They gave us rice, towels, biscuits, milk, soap and clothes. I felt that God had listened to my prayer. Now we are no longer alone.”

This is what a tiny and traumatized girl, Tita of just 11 years, from the Bantul area of Central Java, Indonesia says with a rediscovered smile on her face a few days after the massive earthquake shattered her home, family and life on the early hours ( 5.54 am) of 27th of May 2006.

When the earthquake struck thousands like Tita, she and her family were sleeping in this densely populated town of Yogyakarta located in Central Java, Indonesia. Measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale, the disastrous tremor, originating from a depth of 33 kms from the floor of Indian ocean and centered at 38 kms to the south of the city of Yogyakarta, brought in its wake more than 5,700 deaths. The brunt of it was felt was in the Bantul plain where there were more than 3,500 fatalities.

 

In addition, over 15,000 people were injured, 83,683 homes were completely destroyed and an additional 314,865 houses damaged. An estimated half a million people were rendered homeless.

 
Devastation in Klaten
Ruined houses in Guning Cilik
 
Nearly all dwellings destroyed...

So many lives are shattered beyond repair as many survivors cannot walk or work. There is so much need to infuse self-confidence in them, provide them with all necessities and rebuild their lives. The World Bank has projected the financial damage at a massive 3 billion dollars – more than both the Gujarat and Pakistan earthquake figures of 2001 and 2005 respectively - due to the large amount of infrastructure destroyed. So that is, in brief, the extent of damage in the island of Java.

Sai Devotees Rush to the Scene

Into this scene of death and devastation came the Sai Organization – dozens of devotees ready to work tirelessly for their brothers and sisters who had lost everything. Heart2Heart was privileged to receive details of the work undertaken by the Indonesian Sai Organisation and we share with you an overview of their tireless toil.

On the day following the disaster, four teams including senior office bearers went to the stricken areas to make assessments. They visited Dr. Sarjito Hospital, located in Yogyakarta, and Cakra Husada Hospital, located in Klaten. Medicines were distributed at these two hospitals, including thousands of antibiotic doses, thousands of syringes, bandages and other necessary medical items. The distribution of food, clothes and stoves was carried out in other afflicted areas.

 
Patients in Dr. Sarjito Hospital located inYogyakarta, Indonesia
 
Handing over food and medicines to Dr. Sarjito hospital

On the second day after the quake, they distributed emergency supplies such as 40 tents, and hundreds of pieces of clothing.

On the third day, 3 lorries full of supplies (consisting of over 3 tonnes of rice, 1000 bottles of water, clothes and other essential items) reached the area for distribution.

 
The trucks being filled with supplies of food and medicines to reach the point of service
 

Donated Medicines to the Earthquake Victims (approx. figures)

TT (tetanus toxoid)

4150 doses General medicines 12 boxes
Amoxicil 1gr antibiotic injection

500 doses

Latex gloves 250 pairs
Bandage Kasa sterile

300 boxes

Lidocaine 2ml 2100 vails
Betadine 15 liters Mini surgery kit 12 sets
Cexftaxidime 800 doses Needle/thread sets 444
Disposal syringes
1cc / 3cc
3500 / 2000 Pehacain 2ml 1000 vails
Plaster leucoplast 2" and 3” 60 of each

On the fourth day, two mobile medical teams began making house to house visits supported by another stationary team, helped by 10 youths who also started setting up kitchens.

 
Mobile medical treatment to the suffering...

By the fifth day two public kitchens began feeding the hungry, as more supplies arrived, including one and a half tonnes of rice and more household supplies.

 
Public kitchen in Klaten
Public kitchen in Imogiri
 
Temporary Soup kitchen for the survivors...

In a short while three hygienic public kitchens were set up in the areas of Klaten, Imogiri and Gunung Cilik, to remain open till 29th June 2006. Fresh vegetables were supplied daily to the base camps from the Sai Center in Yogyakarta. The sevadals, with the help of the local villagers, worked round the clock and served with love three meals a day for thousands of people.

Donated Food Articles to the Earthquake Victims (approx.)
Rice 8360 kg Cooking oil

89 boxes.

Drinking water

212 boxes

Sugar

6 boxes + 100 kg

Milk

270 packs

Coffee

3 boxes
Biscuits 97 boxes

Soy Sauce

15 boxes

Baby’s food

51 boxes Sugar 90 kg

Instant noodles

420 boxes Tea 3 boxes
Donated Clothes to the Earthquake Victims (approx.)
Sarongs 1268 Shirts 1120
Clothes 50 boxes + 10,000 individual pieces Children’s clothes 1100
Women’s dresses 1080

Bibi, a little girl of 7 years from Bantul, tells us how vital the supply of food was:

I feel very scared and I cried. My father and mother took me and my sister from our home because it had broken into dust. I was very hungry and some people started giving us milk. My mother made me drink it and I felt much better. Now I want to go back to school to play with my friends.

Donated Essential Articles to the Earthquake Victims (approx.)

Plastic Tents

40

Tooth Paste

54 boxes

Blankets

1289

Tooth Brushes

19 boxes

Soap

51 boxes

Mats

427

Mosquito repellents

3,000

Children’s toys

3 boxes

Kerosene Pressured Lanterns

70 Rope 5 rolls

Stoves

52

Detergent

14 boxes
Beds 2 Writing materials 1 box
Towels 860 + 3 boxes Cooking ware 1 box
Glasses 1 box

Over the next few days, 6 medical teams were working to aid the survivors; over 2 and a half tones of rice were given out; 50 stoves and many essential food and household items were distributed; tools and volunteers arrived to help in rebuilding homes; the materials to make 20 brick furnaces were arranged (the bricks will be used to build 80 new homes); and thousands of items of clothing were distributed including a company run by devotees dispatching 10,000 pieces of clothing and 2,500 blankets. (This is a very small picture of the massive efforts that went into collecting, delivering and distributing the earthquake relief supplies. The tables above gives you a glimpse of the Seva that was done).

 
Medical Camp in Imogiri
Medical camp in Klaten
 
Food being distributed
Tents being provided

The logistical efforts were carried out with the knowledge that their labors were feeding the starving, giving medical aid to the injured (by 14th June as many as 1,070 victims had been medically treated by Sai volunteers), providing shelter to the homeless and clothing those who had nothing. It was and still is a massive undertaking, bringing out the best in the devotees in these life and death situations. The comment below depicts one example of the rebuilding work achieved by the devotees.

“After the quake I felt very scared. I lost my friends and my father brought me here (in a tent put up by the Sai Organization). Over here I met my aunty, uncle and friends. I am so happy to be with them and can play again with my friends. I like the class, the songs and the gifts given to us,” says Kristianingsih of 10 years from the Bantul region.

 
Materials collected for the brick ovens.
Sevadals playing with children

The devotees not only brought supplies and equipment but gave their physical strength too to help rebuild lives. As a pilot project, the Sai Organization will provide the finance and human resources for 9 houses in the district of Bantul. They also gave much needed emotional support to the traumatized, such as listening to accounts of personal suffering, playing with children and singing songs to uplift people, as one boy, Hevin, of 12 years from Bantul, recounted to a devotee -

I was shocked when the earthquake came. Everybody ran helter skelter and everything was destroyed in a split second. Everyone screamed and shouted and panicked. My family brought me here and on the first day we slept without shelter and food. So many had no tents and it rained heavily during the night. I prayed to God to help us. The next morning we did not know where to go, or what to eat as we had no food.

But then the Sai Organisation came and gave us some milk, noodles and also provided us with tents. Injured people are now being taken care of by the doctors. We are happy because the Sai youth and devotees play games and sing songs with us, give us books, pencils and rubbers.

 
Construction material for Tobong in Padangan village
EHV with children at base camp

So that is the difference that the Sai volunteers in Indonesia have brought to the lives of their brothers and sisters in distress. One can never describe in words how the love and emotional support, apart from the material support, from the Sai devotees really reenergized the people who thought that they had nothing and that nobody cared for them. The work in Indonesia is still going on and Heart2Heart prays that all the dedicated devotees receive His love, grace and blessings, now and forever.

– Heart2Heart Team


 
     
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Vol 4 Issue 07 - JULY 2006
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