Volunteer disaster team heads to Indonesia
31 May 2006
Oregon, USA: US-based Northwest Medical Teams is sending highly trained medical volunteers to the island of Java on Tuesday to help care for thousands of survivors of Saturday's massive earthquake centered near the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta.
A registered nurse from Gig Harbor, WA, a Florida physician, a nurse from Illinois and a physician's assistant from Montana will depart on Tuesday for Jakarta. The team will spend three weeks in the earthquake zone. Each will bring medical supplies of critically needed antibiotics, surgical kits and bandages to care for up to 10,000 people.
Northwest Medical Teams currently has staff on the ground in Yogyakarta who are providing direct emergency medical funding to help the injured and the homeless. More than 5,100 people on the island of Java are now reported dead from the 6.3 magnitude quake. An additional 20,000 remain in desperate need of medical attention. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports there are more than 130,000 homeless--and 40 percent of those are children, who now face the added burden of heavy rains as they scavenge for food and shelter.
"Medical workers and medicines are urgently needed at this time," says Bas Vanderzalm, president of Northwest Medical Teams. "Every hour counts in this disaster. Staff reports indicate that hospitals are struggling to cope with the number of injured seeking medical attention. At one Yogyakarta hospital alone, 15,000 patients are waiting to be treated. We can't afford to wait. We need to respond now."
Northwest Medical Teams is working in the earthquake region with other aid groups and local churches to ensure that families' most urgent medical needs are met quickly and effectively. The organization is also requesting donations in any amount to fund the immediate medical and physical needs of the survivors of this disaster.