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Aid volunteer's diary: Java quake
31 May 2006, 15:03
by Father Agus Gunadi

Medical treatment is needed by many people injured in the quake. (BBC News/AP)Medical treatment is needed by many people injured in the quake. (BBC News/AP)
Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Many houses are ruined so people have had to leave their homes. They need medicine, they are hungry and they need shelter.

There are about 500 people who need help because they have injuries and many of them need medical treatment - so we decided to set up a crisis centre to help them and we are working from that.

Many people are living in tents and about 500 are living in the space in front of the church. Unfortunately it has been raining every day and it makes it much harder for people. They can't go in the church itself because it is damaged.

There are two problems for people. They are traumatised with what has happened so they are too afraid to go into buildings - and all the buildings are damaged.

At the moment, people are victims, so it is difficult to ask them to rebuild. Maybe some months after [the earthquake] it will be possible.

Damaged roads

We are living in the city but most of the residents are poor people and workers. They have no job now but even if they did, they have no time to work because the harvest is ready, and most of them are injured.

Many have injuries to the head because they were hit when their houses fell down.

So many people want to help them. I have no idea about the government but so many NGOs are helping them and so many individuals are giving the people medicine and medical treatment.

We are lucky because we live in a city, but so many people in the villages far from the city are still suffering a lot.

At a time of emergency, many organisations help the victims with food, so I think if the distribution is good everything will be fine. But unfortunately the distribution is difficult because the roads are damaged.

'Really panicking'

[When the earthquake hit] most of the people were crying and running and had no idea what to do.

They asked me to call the hospital and ambulance but no hospital or ambulance could help them because there were too many victims. People were really panicking.

First of all I had no idea what to do myself because most of us were shocked and panicked. Secondly I tried to call the hospital but the telephone was not working - and when I could call they could do nothing to help.

So I called my friends and I sent them a message to send something to help. Praise to God, so many sent food and clothes and medicine.

Now we have a crisis centre because of the help of all these people.

Now, in a time of emergency, what they need is shelter, they need food, they need medicine.

In the medium term, we will need help for rehabilitation, physical and psychological, and people will be able to see the damage to their homes, so what we will need is building material and tools to build new houses.