Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Report from Banda Aceh

The US military has arrived and is clearly establishing its presence everywhere in Banda Aceh. They completely have taken over the military hospital, which was a mess until yesterday but is now completely up and running. They brought big stocks of medicines, materials for the operation room, teams of doctors, water and food. Most of the patients who were lying in the hospital untreated for a week have undergone medical treatment by the US teams by this afternoon. US military have unloaded lots of heavy vehicles and organize the logistics with Indonesian military near the airport. A big camp is being set up at a major square in the town. Huge generators are ready to provide electricity. US helicopters fly to places which haven't been reached for the whole week and drop food. The impression it makes on the people is also highly positive; finally something happens in the city of Banda Aceh and finally it seems some people are in control and are doing something. No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground. IOM staff (note: this is a USAID-funded organization) is very busy briefing the incoming Americans and Australians about the situation.

The US, Australia, Singapore and the Indonesian military have started a "Coalition Co-ordination Centre"
in Medan to organize all the incoming and outgoing military flights with aid. A sub-centre is established in Banda Aceh.

Via The Diplomad. About this piece they say "This January 2 report is written by local Dutch diplomats who traveled to Aceh and saw the reality on the ground."

To say that The Diplomad doesn't like the UN is like saying that Tabasco Sauce isn't good on ice cream. The blog has become an ongoing screed about the United Nations, which under the circumstances is richly earning every word.

The Australians seem to be unsung heroes in all this...

The only fault The Diplomad can find with the Dutch report is that it understates the role of the Australians in the relief effort -- they deserve considerably more credit than this report gives them. It's hard to praise the Aussies too much for what they have done in the wake of the tsunami. They are absolutely splendid -- too bad they've got that thing about that weird game, uh, cricket, is it?

Tip to Chester

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