A team of nine people from the Chinese Christian Relief Association and Jayi Christian hospital arrived at the Lhkoksemawe airport in the northern part of Aceh.
Through the preparations of local churches, they have successfully entered into the Bireuen refugee camp to continue ongoing medical relief efforts.
Once they arrived, a local police officer greeted the group. The officer informed the group about rules set by the health department and public safety department. The officer led the entire trip to the disaster area.
On the way to the disaster zone, the road was lined with damaged houses with locals standing by, looking curiously and waving at the medical relief team.
The local police warmly received the team due to a severe lack in proper medical personnel and supplies. The medical relief team brought with them 600 kg (1,322 lbs) worth of medical supplies. Local relief workers report the presence of team as a ‘gift that has fallen off from the sky’.
To this date, this is the first non-governmental local medical relief team to arrive in this disaster zone to proceed with efforts in providing medical relief.
Around Lhoksemawe and Bireuen, around 3000 people have died (in Bireuen district alone, 594 people died). In terms of property damage, 5000 houses and 83 school have been severely damaged or destroyed, leaving 25000 homeless.
The local authority has setup 21 refugee camps, but many camps cannot provide adequate shelter from the wind and rain. Some camps contain no less than 9000 refugees.
The victims struggle with food shortages, but hope that the government can, in the most efficient and quick way, alleviate their situation by setting up the medical relief centers.
The medical relief team have so far been placed in a refugee center that houses over 990 people. They will provide much-needed medical service, providing children with care and general medical services. 34 military personnel have been present to maintain order in these camps.
Those who came all share an expression of hope for receiving treatment. Doctors and nurses already on scene have worked overtime day after day in the camps. Though in a constantly exhausted, the medical staff express gratitude in being allowed to use their abilities for those who are really in need. The atmosphere amongst in the team is both spirited and grateful.
In the process of caring, doctors found various symptoms assosciated with unsanitary conditions such as daiarrhea, skin rash, and fever. The conditions caused by the disaster have exposed survivors to polluted water, skin disease, rashes, and parasites.
Currently, the area continued to find itself lacking in sanitation says doctors. In a single camp, around 20 families would live on one small area, using the nearby river for drinking water and human waste disposal.
As the sanitation condition is deterioriating, many children fall victim to disease. The same day the team arrived at the camp a young boy had died from dysentery. Due to this problem, the relief team has also brought with them a highly advanced water purification system from Taiwan and placed it in the largest refugee camp to address the disaster areas' water and medical needs.
Now, with the relief association gathering enough funds, a second medical relief team is scheduled to arrive on the 12th to reinforce relief efforts.