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Aid volunteer's diary: Day two
01 June 2006, 16:19
by Father Agus Gunadi

Yogyakarta, Indonesia: There are still so many people queuing for help. They need food, drink and shelter.

I don't know how many people we have served. Usually the person who comes to us is a village representative. Even if there are only about 500-100 of these people, they represent many more. So maybe through them we have helped 2-3,000 people today.

It's all through word of mouth. We don't advertise the fact that we are running a crisis centre, people just hear about us.

We send food and tents back to the villages.

Most of the main roads are good, it's the roads to the small villages that are difficult.

We have three cars we can use. One belongs to our church, one is on free loan from a local company and the other was sent to us by someone in Jakarta. We need two more cars to transport help to where it is needed.

Returning to villages

The problem is, there are so many people on the roads asking for help. They stop the car to ask for food and drink. We give it to them, so sometimes we have run out of supplies before we reach the village we were heading to.

Yesterday there were 500 people living in front of the church. Now there are fewer than 200 because many have gone back to their villages to try to find their belongings.

People are not sleeping in the church but under the shelter of tents outside. Before the earthquake there was no rain. Now unfortunately, it is raining every day.

There are about 50 of us working here. Most of the volunteers are Catholics from my parish: nuns, priests and students from seminaries. There are also some students from the Catholic University.

We are working in the church but actually this is very dangerous because the building was damaged in the quake.

Shelter is very important. The people are traumatised - and they have no home. I hope after one or two weeks they will start to think about rebuilding their houses. We will need to give them tools so they can do this.

I want to say thank you to all the people who have been helping us. Companies and individuals - many from Jakarta - have been sending food, drink, medicine, tents and clothes. It is all needed and we are giving it all to the village representatives.

We hope the donations will not stop here, because this is a long term situation.

There are so many people asking for help, we still don't have enough food to give away.