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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:29 am
Via Diplomad, some comments from the UN’s Jan Egeland:
In Aceh, today 50 trucks of relief supplies are arriving. <…> Tomorrow, we will have eight full airplanes arriving. I discussed today with Washington whether we can draw on some assets on their side, after consultations with the Indonesian Government, to set up what we call an “air-freight handling centre” in Aceh.
Tomorrow, we will have to set up a camp for relief workers – 90 of them – which is fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything, because they have nowhere to stay and we don’t want them to be an additional burden on the people there.
I provided this to some USAID colleagues working in Indonesia and their heads nearly exploded. The first paragraph is quite simply a lie. The UN is taking credit for things that hard-working, street savvy USAID folks have done. It was USAID working with their amazing network of local contacts who scrounged up trucks, drivers, and fuel; organized the convoy and sent it off to deliver critical supplies. A UN “air-freight handling centre”? In Aceh? Bull! It’s the Aussies and the Yanks who are running the air ops into Aceh. We have people working and sleeping on the tarmac in Aceh, surrounded by bugs, mud, stench and death, who every day bring in the US and Aussie C-130s and the US choppers; unload, load, send them off. We have no fancy aid workers’ retreat—notice the priorities of the UN? People are dying and what’s the first thing the UN wants to do? Set up “a camp for relief workers” one that would be “fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything.”
The RAAF staged an emotional mercy mission today, taking scores of tsunami survivors out of Indonesia’s disaster-struck Aceh province.
Having lost loved ones and almost all their possessions, they burst into smiles when they were finally crammed inside the RAAF C-130 Hercules at Banda Aceh airport. This was the first piece of good luck after a week of hell.
“Thank you Australia. Thank you,” Nita said as she walked up the ramp into the plane’s cavernous hull and sat down on the floor.
“With Australia’s help we can start again.”
That airlift rescued more than than 170 people. Sergeant Brett Louis, who returned from four months in Iraq just before Christmas, is supervising operations. On the way to Aceh: an Australian medical team who’ll establish a field hospital to treat survivors over the next three months.
In other tsunami news:
* The Russian town of Beslan, scene of September’s child hostage murders, has donated $45,000.
* The latest aid pledges worldwide.
* Keep an eye on this if you have O- blood; Thailand reports a major shortage, and international requests may follow.