U.S. Navy Dentists Treat Residents of Indonesian City
By Samantha L. Quigley
(Dr.) Jillian Martin checks Reza, 12, for swollen lymph
nodes. Swollen lymph nodes would indicate that infection
from an abscessed tooth had gone beyond the tooth. Reza’s
father brought him to the hospital in Meulaboh, Indonesia,
to see one of the two dentists that make up a five-person
dental team. He did have an abscessed tooth, but left with
only medicine. Martin, a doctor with the MEU Service Support
Group 15 dental team, acts as the team’s medical liaison.
MSSG is a part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
by Samantha L. Quigley / DoD Photo
Indonesia — There’s a new doctor in town and he goes by "Dr.
GiGi" or, literally, Dr. Teeth.
that new doctor is a U.S. Navy team composed of two dentists,
a doctor, a dental technician and a dentalman. They blew into
the hospital here and opened for business later. Lt. Chris Hamlin,
one of the dentists, put the number of patients that first day
at around 20.
the only ones who wanted to see Dr. GiGi, though. That first day,
the windows filled with curious on-lookers as the dentists went
to work, performing mostly exams and extractions of damaged teeth,
said Lt. Dan Grossman, the USS Bonhomme Richard’s dentist.
been great," Grossman said. "We don’t speak the same
language, but the smile on their faces when you take that tooth
out that’s been hurting (is gratifying)." Interacting with
the local population in this tsunami-stricken city has given him
a new outlook on life, he said.
tenure at the hospital is short. Arriving on Jan. 13, they began
getting the dental suite ready for use. "We’ve been cleaning
(the suite) every day," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Romell
Richardson, the dental technician. But cleaning was only one part
of the preparation. Everything had to be sterilized as well —
not an easy task in a place where drinking bottled water is recommended.
just got to overcome," Richardson said. And they have.
hoped for a better turnout on the team’s second day at the hospital.
Though it was a longer day, it was much slower, with only about
five patients. It was determined that the low turnout was because
Friday is a Muslim day of prayer, and a large portion of the population
is Muslim. The numbers jumped to around 15 today, Grossman said.
Martin, a doctor with the MEU Service Support Group 15, part of
the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit from the BHR, plays a slightly
different role in the team. "I’ve been acting as a sort of
medical liaison," said Martin, who is a general practitioner.
When she and
a small medical team talked to Indonesian government officials,
they were told that medical personnel was plentiful. So she assists
the dentists from a medical standpoint.
Reza’s father brought him in complaining of an aching tooth, Martin
used a few simple phrases and some charades to determine what
the problem was. Reza’s father thought Reza had an abscessed tooth,
but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. "I don’t feel
many lymph nodes," Martin said after checking the boy. If
there was an infection and it had spread further, this wouldn’t
be the case.
was right, though. His son did have an abscessed tooth that needed
to be removed. However, he negotiated for "medicine only."
When he heard he’d been spared the pliers, Reza smiled in relief
and gladly took the antibiotic and pain killer.
come in while they’re in pain (and) get meds," Hamlin said.
"And when the pain goes away, they’ll come back and have
the tooth pulled."
It’s a common
misconception among the local people that if a tooth is pulled
while they’re in pain, they’ll get an infection, Hamlin said.
Mostly, he said, they’re in pain because the tooth is dead.
tough, because the oral hygiene is so poor," Hamlin said.
Care of "gigi" in Indonesia, he added, tends to be less
about prevention than about fixing problems after they occur.
of providing dental care to the residents of Meulaboh is not done
in ideal conditions, but the team members were pleased with what
they found. The biggest problems were the lack of suction, which
meant that someone, most likely Richardson or dentalman Seaman
Donell Ellis, has to stand by with gauze to blot away anything
that may need blotting.
of instruments is probably one of the biggest obstacles. Without
modern methods to clean the implements, the team is making do
by scrubbing them with scouring pads and soaking them in sterilization
solutions, Hamlin said.
sterilization is not the only roadblock to doing the job; the
language barrier is another obstacle. Members of the Singapore
army located at the hospital were able to do some interpreting
for the team. "This is the biggest barrier – communication,"
they’ve only been here a couple of days, the team has made an
impact with the locals. Emi and Hendry, two children who took
to hanging around the dental clinic when the team was there, brought
in fresh green coconuts.
best example of the impact the team made on the locals was summed
up in the story of one 8-year-old boy who had to have a painful
tooth pulled. He walked out with his father, head down and arms
folded across his chest. His answer to the question, "Better?"
was a single solemn nod of his head. "He was a real trooper,"
picked up and deposited on a roof by a tsunami wave, a trip to
the dentist is child’s play.
Related to the Tsunami Relief Efforts:
‘Conditions for Transition’ Met in Thailand, Sri
** Indonesians Welcoming
U.S. Forces ‘With Open Arms’
** IsraAID Sets Up
Relief Camp in Sri Lanka
** USS Lincoln Sailors
Greet Deputy Defense Secretary
** Wolfowitz Views
Indonesia’s Devastated Aceh Province
** Russia’s Chief Sanitary
Inspector Calls Against Southeast Asian Trips
** Water, Supplies
Delivered to Indonesian Refugee Camp, Hospital
** Russia Brought About
150 Tons of Humanitarian Aid to Southeast Asia
** Delivery of Supplies
Welcome in Indonesian City
** Russia’s Emergencies
Ministry Planes to Bring Mobile Hospitals to Sri Lanka
** Tsunami Aid Effort
Continues as Relief Agencies Get Funds
Initial Tsunami Coverage
for Transition’ Met in Thailand, Sri Lanka
By Kathleen T. Rhem
Lankan workers unload bags of vegetables from a U.S. Air
Force HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter at Dambula, Sri Lanka, during
relief operations for tsunami victims. The airmen are transporting
food, medicines and supplies to the affected people in support
of Operation Unified Assistance. The Pavehawk is assigned
to the 33rd Rescue Squadron, at Kadena Air Base, Japan.
by Master Sgt. Val Gempis, U.S. Air Force. / DoD Photo
Jan. 15, 2005 – The "conditions for transition"
have been met in both Thailand and Sri Lanka, the U.S. general
in charge of coordinating relief efforts throughout South Asia
U.S. and other international military and aid organizations are
still working to deliver critical supplies to people in affected
areas, explained Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Blackman, commander of
Combined Support Force 536.
this assessment to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and
Navy Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, while
the two were in Utapao as part of a three-day trip through the
that the relief mission is "beyond the stop-the-bleeding
phase" and is progressing to the point when U.S. military
assistance no longer will be needed.
for transition from U.S. military to host-nation military control
of operations in these countries have been met, he said. Blackman
estimated that "within the next week or two" the U.S.
military presence in these countries will evolve into a more-normal
theater-security support posture.
credited the long-standing Cobra Gold series of combined U.S.-Thai
exercises with allowing U.S. forces to "come in here to Utapao
at a tremendous comfort level."
The Thai military’s
engineering efforts in beginning the reconstruction phase have
been "very effective," Blackman said. He added that
the Thai military’s engineers will continue to receive support
from a U.S. forward engineering- support team under the auspices
of the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group, which has been operating
in Thailand to foster cooperation for several years.
is how Blackman described recovery and budding reconstruction
efforts in Sri Lanka. He said the Sri Lankan government is "meeting
or exceeding the minimum needs of internally displaced persons."
is now requesting U.S. logistical support that goes beyond providing
the basics — food, water, shelter, and medical care — in some
areas of the country.
is "clearly the most challenging" of the three countries
Blackman focused on and that Wolfowitz is visiting this weekend.
Blackman said the devastation there is "mind-boggling"
after 60-foot waves hit some parts of the country.
can’t minimize 130,000 deaths on the island of Sumatra,"
to describe the devastation on Sumatra, Blackman suggested Wolfowitz
"picture a blender" and what it would look like if someone
were to put a city in one.
In Banda Aceh,
a provincial capital on the northern edge of Sumatra, the first
third of the city was "literally swept away," he said.
Then another third has serious damage with high-water marks sometimes
reaching up to the second and third stories on buildings. "It’s
sobering," he said.
the situation in Banda Aceh gets better every day, but "we’re
still seeing too much swarming of helicopters."
Wolfowitz a photo of a group of men swarming a helicopter trying
to deliver aid supplies. Blackman said this is of particular concern
because able- bodied men can get the supplies, but widows and
orphans often are left out.
the unique capabilities the U.S. military brings to the table
won’t be needed for much longer, these efforts are setting the
stage for longer-term reconstruction. The international relief
agencies "are really stepping up," Blackman said.
But, he added,
such efforts can get convoluted and be less effective in the "fog
of relief." He said this phenomenon was similar to the fog
of war, and this is why it’s vital to have strong communication
among all parties.
assessment throughout with region will allow Indonesia in particular
to know what its obligations will be when U.S. troops leave. Indonesia
has asked that all foreign militaries be out of the country by
March 29, three months after the disaster struck.
Such an assessment
will leave the Indonesian government in better stead as they prepare
to meet the needs of their own people, Blackman said.
said he’s not surprised by Indonesia’s stance regarding foreign
military troops. "I see it as positive," he said. "They
are saying, ‘We are going to do this work by ourselves.’"
said it’s not important that Indonesia has set an arbitrary date
for the withdrawal of foreign forces. "I don’t think that’s
really the point," he said. "The point is we’re working
together to stop suffering and to get host- nation countries in
Welcoming U.S. Forces ‘With Open Arms’
By Kathleen T. Rhem
Lance Cpl. Jeff W. Erickson guides a Humvee off of the High
Speed Vessel WestPac Express shortly after landing at Chuk
Samet Port, Utapao, Thailand, Erickson is among more than
14,000 U.S. Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Soldiers and Coast
Guardsmen supporting Operation Unified Assistance, a multinational
relief effort to bring food water and medical care to victims
of the Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. Erickson
is radar repairman with Marine Air Control Group-18, III
Marine Aircraft Wing.
by Lance Cpl. Patrick J. Floto, U.S. Marine Corps. / DoD
on Jan. 13 disputed contentions that Indonesia does not welcome
U.S. assistance in dealing with the aftermath of the Dec. 26 tsunami
that devastated the country’s Aceh province.
Indonesians have welcomed us with open arms," Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said aboard his plane en route to the
region on a fact-finding trip through areas affected by the disaster.
was U.S. ambassador to Indonesia from 1986 to 1989 and has maintained
ties to the region.
that lingering diplomatic tensions stemming from Australian, U.N.
and U.S. intervention in East Timor in 1999 have been put aside
while the countries work together to provide humanitarian aid
to Aceh, on the northern portion of the island of Sumatra.
of the kinds of concerns about sovereignty and mistrust of foreign
militaries and questions about the problems with our military-to-military
relations have been put aside in the wake of this disaster to
a degree that … frankly, old Indonesian hands are surprised,"
he said, referring to himself and others who have worked closely
with the Indonesian government in the past.
Vice President Jusuf Kala said Jan. 12 that he hopes foreign troops
will be out of Indonesia within three months. A senior defense
policy official traveling with Wolfowitz said the comments stem
from the Indonesians’ belief that they will be able to handle
the situation themselves within that timeframe, not from a desire
to see all American troops out.
supported that belief. "It’s our expectation, our hope that
we wouldn’t be needed militarily past that point," he said.
He noted any
country, including the United States, would be sensitive about
having foreign troops on their sovereign soil. "And I can
tell you that it is extremely sensitive in Indonesia," he
aversion to foreign militaries within its borders stems from the
country’s long occupation by Dutch troops from the late 1800s
until it gained its independence in 1950.
On Jan. 12,
a senior U.S. defense official who is an expert on Asia-Pacific
affairs disputed press reports that Indonesia was requiring U.S.
Marines to go ashore without their weapons.
said Marines working ashore are carrying weapons. "The Indonesians
have not precluded our carrying weapons," he said at the
Pentagon. "That’s a bad report."
said he sees U.S. military involvement going on for a matter of
weeks, not months. "I’ll say weeks at this point," he
said. "But beyond that we’re constantly in an assessment-reassessment
Sets Up Relief Camp in Sri Lanka
(IFM) A group of Israelis from IsraAID, a coordinating body of
Jewish organizations worldwide and non-governmental organizations
based in Israel, arrived in Sri Lanka late past Monday night to
set up a relief camp, as part of the Israel Campaign For Southeast
Asia Disaster, according to the Jerusalem Post. Members of IsraAID’s
15-person team are identifiable by their t-shirts sporting the
words "Israel Relief Force." The shirts have attracted
a good deal of positive attention from local Sri Lankans, who
have rushed to volunteer their services, according to Gal Lousky,
an IsraAID coordinator.
plan involves three main components: a field kitchen manned by
local cooks, a field infirmary, and an area for orphaned and lost
children to receive the care and attention they need. Lousky said
the group’s concept was unique in that no other organization in
Sri Lanka was involved in covering every single aspect of the
relief effort. IsraAID is collecting donations, sending people,
and cooking food all by itself. She said that the efforts would
focus mainly on the children’s welfare, and getting 5,000 people
fed per day.
for the campaign is being provided by Israelis, and European and
American Jewish communities.
Lincoln Sailors Greet Deputy Defense Secretary
By Kathleen T. Rhem
— U.S. sailors warmly welcomed Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
and a delegation of other senior officials Saturday during a visit
to the USS Abraham Lincoln, 8 to 10 miles off the coast of Sumatra,
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz speaks with press members
traveling with him while flying to McCord Air Force Base,
Wash. Wolfowitz is traveling to McCord to pass on his appreciation
for the support provided by the 62nd Airlift Wing for Operation
Photo by Master Sgt. James M. Bowman, U.S. Air Force. /
Lincoln, Wolfowitz; U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia B. Lynn Pascoe;
and Navy Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander of U.S. Pacific Command,
told a group of sailors from Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron
47, embarked aboard the Lincoln, that their work is saving lives.
the sailors on behalf of himself and Wolfowitz, and added, "There
are a lot of Americans out there who want to thank you as well."
said it’s important to transfer control of relief efforts in Indonesia
over to local officials as soon as practical for the sake of the
people involved. "Victims and survivors have a need to be
involved and doing things," he said. "The sooner you
can get them taking care of themselves instead of (relying on
others), I think, will psychologically benefit them."
told the sailors their work goes far beyond being "angels
of mercy" because Indonesia is a very important country in
terms of U.S. security.
are more Muslims in Indonesia that in any other country in the
world," he said, "but it’s a country where Islam is
not the state religion." Christianity and Buddhism also are
widely practiced in Indonesia.
timely arrival in the disaster zone on Dec. 31 "saved enormous
numbers of lives," Pascoe said. The ship and its carrier
strike group were afloat in the South China Sea when they received
orders to move to Indonesia.
Indonesians he deals with are very appreciative of U.S. help.
"One thing the Indonesians are never going to forget is who
was there first," he said.
ship, Wolfowitz, Fargo and Pascoe also received briefings on medial
relief efforts and the ship’s operations. An expert with the World
Health Organization, Rob Holden, said aid and military agencies
both on and offshore are doing "a remarkable job in a short
period of time."
skipper, Capt. Kendall Card, told reporters traveling with the
party that eight-person health-assessment teams go ashore to several
locations every day via helicopter. The teams — composed of one
U.S. Marine, one Indonesian soldier and six medical experts in
a variety of specialties — move among 18 landing zones in Indonesia.
This mission has become more challenging in recent days, because
people are beginning to repopulate small villages that are harder
for the teams to reach, Card said.
from the Lincoln and from the USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary
Strike Group, afloat in the Indian Ocean, have proved invaluable
in delivering relief supplies to remote areas. To date, Card said,
helicopters from the two ships have delivered 2.2 million pounds
of relief supplies. On Jan. 14 alone, helicopters flew 86 missions,
delivered 333,000 pounds, and carried 156 passengers.
government representatives direct where the missions go. "They
are definitely in charge and in control," Card said.
said his sailors and Marines find the relief missions "very
have any shortage of volunteers," he said.
Officer 1st Class David Loiselle, an aviation warfare systems
operator aboard the Lincoln, said this relief work is one of the
most rewarding things he’s ever done.
sailor said the amount of devastation was 100 times worse than
he had expected. "It looked like somebody had just take a
giant Weedwacker to the entire coast," he said. "I never
saw anything like it — never thought I’d see anything like it."
he has been ashore on missions almost every day since Jan. 1.
He said getting married has been the best thing that happened
to him since joining the Navy in 1993. "But other than that,"
he added, "my single biggest personal gratitude is rescuing
people. I’d much rather do that than shooting people."
Views Indonesia’s Devastated Aceh Province
By Kathleen T. Rhem
— Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz returned to Indonesia
and found a country much changed since his tenure as U.S. ambassador
here nearly 20 years ago.
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz carries a bag of rice
during a humanitarian relief mission. Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz
visited Indonesia to show his support for Operation Unified
by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. James M. Bowman / DoD Photo
was ambassador, from 1986 to 1989, Indonesia was not a democracy
and, of course, a tsunami hadn’t destroyed vast swaths of the
country’s seafront communities.
secretary arrived in Banda Aceh, Indonesia — provincial capital
of the Aceh province, which was hit harder than any other area
in the Dec. 26 tsunami — aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster
III cargo plane loaded with pallet upon pallet of humanitarian
his previous posting here, Wolfowitz is very popular in Indonesia.
Dozens of local media representatives were waiting when he stepped
off the plane at Sultan Iskandar Muda Air Force Base. A crowd
swarmed around him, seeking photographs and handshakes.
in Banda Aceh, Wolfowitz immediately was whisked off on a helicopter
tour of some of the damaged areas.
From the SH-60B
Sea Hawk helicopter, the devastation was clearly visible for miles.
Near the coast, parcels of land the size of several city blocks
have been swept clean of all that stood there — entire villages
literally washed from the island of Sumatra.
A short distance
away, the pattern of destruction changes. The roofs of a few scattered
structures jut out above piles of rubble. Boats lay on their sides
far from the coast.
At a news
conference later in the day, Wolfowitz said he’s glad to be back
in Aceh and glad the U.S. military has been able to help. "The
scale of this is so enormous," he said, "I can’t imagine
any country that could handle this on its own."
He added that
this disaster "gives a new horrible meaning to what it means
to be a survivor."
No. 2 man assured the Indonesian people that the United States
has no desire to have a long-term presence in Indonesia. "The
goal is for Indonesia to be self-sufficient, or at least as self-sufficient
as possible," he said. "And the goal from our point
of view is to be able to free up our people for other missions.
let me emphasize the most important goal is to make sure the survivors
here are properly taken care of," he added. "I think
that’s what everybody agrees has to be done."
Chief Sanitary Inspector Calls
Against Southeast Asian Trips
(RIA Novosti) – Contagious diseases are sweeping tsunami-stricken
South and Southeast Asian areas. Gennady Onishchenko, Russia’s
chief state sanitary inspector, insistently calls his compatriots
not to visit the problem region, he said to the Echo of Moscow
radio in Wednesday afternoon’s live cast.
is sure official statistics are playing down the epidemic danger.
"The World Health Organization has no alarming information
on its website. That fact is alarming in itself. Today, they reported
a mere several hundred patients. This is not serious. Epidemics
are on an upswing, and that is evident. Rather a long time has
passed [since the calamity], and there is every prerequisite for
intestinal diseases, let alone others."
measures are far from enough, considering the damage and other
tragic consequences of the quake and the tsunami. That is the
worst problem for now, pointed out Mr. Onishchenko.
are working in the disaster areas. A team of thirty will join
them quite soon. These are experts from a major epidemiological
research institute in Stavropol. They are departing January 16
to inspect local food and drinking water, he added.
Supplies Delivered to Indonesian
Refugee Camp, Hospital
By Samantha L. Quigley
Jan. 14, 2005 – Carried aboard an air-cushioned landing craft,
a large amount of humanitarian assistance – food, water and
medical and engineering supplies – was delivered.
Seaman Donnel Ellis, with the 15th Marine Expeditionary
Unit’s Service Support Group 15 helps a resident of Meulaboh,
Indonesia, load a 50-pound bag of rice onto his shoulder
Jan. 14. The rice was brought to the beach from ships off
the coast, including the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme
by Samantha L. Quigley / DoD Photo
included "rice, lots of lumber, hand sanitizer (and) soap,"
said Marine 2nd Lt. Joseph Millsap of the 15th Marine Expeditionary
Unit. The MEU is part of the USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary
Strike Group in the waters off the west coast of Indonesia. The
strike group is here in support of the Combined Support Force’s
disaster relief operations.
as the landing craft is known, is an 80-foot, flat-bottomed aluminum
hovercraft that "flies" across the water. It can hold
60 tons and can carry an M-1A1 Abrams tank. The assault craft
unit that operates from the Bonhomme Richard, ACU 5, operates
three LCACs, which usually are armed with two M-60 mounts for
perimeter defense. "Most of the LCAC’s tactical equipment
has been removed for this mission," said Marine Gunnery Sgt.
Robert Knoll of the 15th MEU. According to Millsap, this allows
for delivery of 45 to 50 pallets of supplies from the Bonhomme
The LCAC crew
is responsible only for getting the goods to shore, though. Its
members of the MEU Service Support Group who get them where they
need to go after the "beach masters" do their thing.
direct the LCACs onto the beach and are in charge of unloading
the goods and equipment. Though the days are "long and hot,"
said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Gradert, "it’s
nice to help to get material in here and put smiles on people’s
That is easier
to do now than it was in the beginning, MSSG 15’s commanding officer,
Marine Lt. Col. Jay Hatton, said. A suspicion of the U.S. military
slowed the process in the beginning. Part of the core MSSG 15
team that stays ashore in Meulaboh to coordinate efforts with
the government, Hatton said building trust is key.
building that trust requires things like sitting through a two-hour
meeting with an Indonesian colonel and his ministers. Hatton doesn’t
speak the language, but he patiently waited through the meeting
so he could speak with the colonel for 10 minutes. He said the
rapport he has built with the colonel has kept things running
it’s that personal relationship that has helped overcome those
initial suspicions," Hatton said.
has helped get a lot of assistance to a lot of the residents of
500-gallon containers of water were delivered in the city of Meulaboh.
Tant Kantor Bupati Posko I refugee camp received one tank to make
up for a shortfall in a Jan. 13 delivery. The camp was to have
received six of the tanks, but the MSSG had only five to give
them. The Meulaboh hospital received the other two tanks delivered
As for the
other supplies, the effort in distributing those was minimal.
The people came to them. Around 2 p.m., residents of Meulaboh
came, some from a great distance, to cart away 50-pound sacks
of rice and liter bottles of water. They made quick work of the
pallets of rice delivered to the beach.
And the task
of getting these goods home may not have been so easy, but the
smiles of gratitude were there.
Brought About 150 Tons of Humanitarian
Aid to Southeast Asia
(RIA Novosti) – Russia has delivered close to 150 metric tons
of humanitarian aid to the Southeast Asian countries hit by the
earthquake and giant waves, Yury Brazhnikov, the director of the
Emergencies Ministry’s international activities department, told
reporters on Monday.
December 27 to January 10 Emergencies Ministry aircraft brought
an overall of over 64 tons of aid to Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia,
while Defence Ministry planes delivered more than 83 metric tons
of aid," said Mr. Brazhnikov.
said Russia would continue supplying humanitarian aid to those
countries in the next few days. The Emergencies Ministry and Defence
Ministry, for example, will send eight planes to Southeast Asia
this week. They will bring food to Sri Lanka, thereby meeting
the country’s request.
intends to provide medical aid to victims of the tsunamis. The
Defence Ministry is deploying a mobile hospital on Sumatra, Indonesia.
Ministry hospital has been prepared for transportation to Sri
Lanka. Besides, the Russian Health Ministry’s sanitary and anti-epidemic
brigades are prepared to fly for Thailand," said Mr. Brazhnikov.
said over the first week following the tragedy Russia had provided
humanitarian aid worth about $2 million. Today, the overall amount
of aid is much higher.
experts said the Southeast Asian countries needed aid worth an
overall of $4 billion. International organisations and banks will
allocate half of that amount, the other half will be provided
by the United States, Germany, Japan and other countries. "Russia
is the leader in terms of targeted assistance to the victims,"
said Mr. Brazhnikov.
of Supplies Welcome in Indonesian City
By Samantha L. Quigley
Sgt. Patrick Wright of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s
Service Support Group 15 hands a sweet treat from a packaged
meal to an Indonesian girl at the hospital in Meubaloh,
Indonesia. The MEU’s service support group was on a mission
in the city to deliver water to a refugee camp and the hospital.
The food was a bonus and a hit with the crowd of local people.
by Samantha L. Quigley / DoD Photo
Indonesia — Amid devastation unknown in recent history, survivors
of the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunamis have reason to smile.
military is, in part, responsible for those smiles.
area here is barely recognizable as the community it once was.
Where houses once stood, survivors of the disaster poke through
the rubble in search of anything salvageable.
remarkable," said Marine Lt. Col. Jay Hatton, commander of
Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 15. "I’ve
never seen anything like this, and I’ve been to some pretty bad
Red and white
flags mark spots where bodies are thought to still be buried or
where bodies have been recovered. Most likely, it’s the former,
as the smell of decomposition is prevalent near those sites.
But even among
such utter destruction are hints of humor. For example, at one
turn it appears someone intended to leave his boat parked neatly
at the curb.
of hope already sparked were brightened today by members of the
MSSG 15. Part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit from the amphibious
assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard trucked in three 500-gallon
containers of water. One of those containers went to Tant Kantor
Bupati Posko I refugee camp in Meulaboh.
caused a bit of confusion for Lt. Den Bekang Purwandi of the Indonesian
army. He thought the delivery had been made on Jan. 13.
Lt. Col. Hatton
explained through an interpreter that the delivery was a supplement
to the previous delivery. The camp had received only five of the
scheduled six water containers. Once explained, Lt. Purwandi was
satisfied and watched as the container was put in place next to
of displaced tsunami victims also watched with mild curiosity.
Water deliveries aren’t as exciting as the times the troops hand
out meals and snacks. On those days, large crowds gather around
the vehicles, vying to get the prized bag of M&Ms or a Tootsie
Roll, as they did today at the Meulaboh Hospital.
water containers were put in place, little hands reached up from
the front row of spectators while bigger hands reached through
the side rails of the truck.
Patrick Wright split up the contents of several meal packages,
but not everyone got something. Marine Lance Cpl. Paul Bennett
braved the crowd on the ground to make sure as many as possible
got their share. The disappointment was audible as a low collective
grumble rolled through the crowd upon learning that the rations
As the trucks
rolled away, those who were able to grab a treat settled in to
enjoy it. The rest of the crowd headed back to what they were
doing before the servicemembers rolled in.
Navy Lt. Dan
Grossman, the USS Bonhomme Richard’s dentist, was on hand as part
of a five-person team available to handle the dental issues of
those in need. The team was getting ready to start its second
day of mostly tooth extractions as the crowd was breaking up.
He said the
first day had been busy, but successful. "I’m definitely
going to leave here with a new appreciation for life," Grossman
Emergencies Ministry Planes to
Bring Mobile Hospitals to Sri Lanka
January 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Ministry for Emergency and
Calamity Relief dispatched two IL-76 aircraft from the Ramenskoye
airfield near Moscow in the small hours today. They are to take
a mobile hospital to tsunami-stricken Sri Lanka. The second craft
took off at 2.12, Moscow time, reports a ministry officer on duty.
are heading for Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, medical and laboratory
equipment, a stock of medicines and everything else necessary
for the air-mobile hospital. Traveling with the freight are two
expert teams-a medical crew of the All-Russia Zashchita (Protection)
Emergency Medical Center, and a crew of the Ministry of Health
and Social Development, Viktor Beltsov, chief of the Emergencies
Ministry press service, said on a previous occasion.
As he informed
RIA Novosti, the Russian experts will engage in all-round efforts
to localize and fight epidemics in the calamity area. The team
consists of experts from a renowned epidemiological research institute
based in Stavropol.
Russia’s Ministry for Emergency and Calamity Relief and Defense
Ministry have made twenty flights for today to deliver to Southeast
Asia humanitarian batches exceeding 500 tons, roughly worth $8
million, said the ministerial press service.
Aid Effort Continues
Agencies Get Funds
By Gerry J. Gilmore
Jan. 14, 2005
– About $92 million of the $350 million pledged by the United
States to aid victims of the Dec. 26 earthquake-tsunami has been
provided to international relief organizations, a U.S. Agency
for International Development official reported today from Thailand.
will be allocated, as required, to U. N. and nongovernmental entities
participating in disaster relief efforts in Indonesia, Thailand,
Sri Lanka and other stricken South and Southeast Asian nations,
Tom Fry, head of the USAID disaster relief assessment team, said
during a news conference at Utapao, Thailand. USAID is the U.S.
government agency responsible for economic and humanitarian assistance
around the world.
relief effort has now moved "probably beyond" the first
phase of such operations, said Fry, who works at Combined Support
Force 536’s Utapao headquarters.
tsunami killed more than 150,000 people, with Indonesia being
the hardest-hit area with estimates of more than 100,000 dead.
delivery of food, water and medical supplies across the region,
Fry noted that recovery assessments addressing longer-term medical
needs and infrastructure repair also are under way.
Fry noted, USAID and CSF 536 personnel recently toured the northwestern
coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, to assess "potential health
issues" that may emerge in the wake of the tsunami.
is a concern," Fry acknowledged, as well as a possible outbreak
of measles that could target local children under age 5. He said
some international aid organizations working in the area "could
be prepared to take some actions" to deter a possible malaria
or measles outbreak.
efforts "continue to improve," reported Navy Rear Adm.
Victor G. Guillory, CSF 536 deputy commander of naval forces,
who accompanied Fry at the press briefing. Guillory noted that
the support force has distributed almost 3 million pounds of humanitarian
assistance and disaster relief supplies.
15,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen,
the admiral noted, are providing tsunami relief support, and 24
U.S. Navy ships and one Coast Guard vessel are deployed in the
region. This group, he said, includes the recently arrived amphibious
vessel USS Fort McHenry, which was deployed from its port in Japan.
proud," the admiral said, "to be part of this global
effort to help the afflicted nations reach the road to recovery."
reports that the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln had temporarily
steamed farther away from the Indonesian coast to conduct fixed-
wing aircraft training that requires more room.
had "little or no impact" on the Lincoln’s disaster
relief mission, the admiral pointed out, noting that the carrier’s
helicopters have no trouble making trips to the coast and back.