By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By BERNAMA
Mercy Malaysia will abide by the guideline that has been put in place by the Indonesian government on the involvement of non-government organisations (NGOs), as well as volunteers, in extending assistance to the earthquake and tsunami-hit city of Palu in Sulawesi.
Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus said the organisation will adhere by Indonesia’s request that only medical assets and equipment are to be deployed to assist the victims on the island.
He said Mercy Malaysia respects the local government’s directive not to send any medical personnel because there is already sufficient manpower on the island.
“Indonesia is no stranger to natural disasters like this, and has sufficient capacity to manage with their local expertise. As foreigners, we can only play a supporting role to fill any missing gaps,” Dr Ahmad Faizal said in a statement yesterday.
According to an international report on Tuesday, the Indonesian government had asked foreign aid workers who were on the island of Sulawesi after the devastating earthquake and tsunami nearly two weeks ago to leave the country.
Indonesia is trying to limit foreign involvement in disaster relief, after appealing for international assistance earlier.
Dr Ahmad Faizal added that Mercy Malaysia is ready to serve the affected residents through the establishment of a field hospital at the worst-hit areas of Palu, which is now underway.
As the assets for the field hospital arrived in Palu yesterday, Mercy Malaysia will focus on the setting up of the medical facilities within the coming week. According to a statement by the NGO, Sibalaya Utara, located 31km away from Kota Palu, has been identified as the site for the field hospital as it is among the worst-hit areas.
The government of Indonesia earlier released a statement on the assistance required, including heavy equipment, medical supplies, shelter kits and ready-to-eat food.
Despite the challenging circumstances, the NGO’s humanitarian aid at disaster struck Palu has been smooth-sailing, thanks to a standing partnership with the AHA Centre (Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management), and a sound working relationship with Agensi Pengurusan Bencana Negara.
“At ground level, we are also working with and through NGO partners, such as PKPU Human Initiative, Medical Emergency Rescue Committee, Rumah Sakit Umum Sis Al Jufri and the local district clinics,” Dr Ahamd Faizal added.
Mercy Malaysia currently has nine medical personnel members and four non-medical representatives in Palu manning mobile clinics at hard-to-reach places on the island.
In the following week, Mercy Malaysia’s Emergency Medical Team will assist to establish the field hospital and provide training to the local medical team for continued management.
Mercy Malaysia has also begun distributing hygiene kits to 113 families from Desa Loli Saluran and Kecamatan Banawa in the Donggala district. Each kit contains soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shavers, sanitary napkins, underwear and towels for a family of four.
Contributions can be made to Mercy Humanitarian Fund at Malayan Banking Bhd account 5621 7950 4126 or CIMB Bank Bhd account 8000 7929 08 or through www.mercy.org.my. All contributions are tax-exempted.