Czech charities take part in rescue efforts in Sumatra
Humanitarian workers from around the world are rushing to Western Sumatra where Wednesday’s earthquake has left over a thousand people dead and likely several thousand more trapped beneath the rubble. Among those involved in the relief effort are Czech charity workers based in Aceh, northern Sumatra, where they have been working throughout the numerous disasters that have afflicted the island since 2005.
Half of the Sumatran cities Padang and Pariaman have been destroyed, people are still being pulled out of collapsed schools, hospitals and businesses more than forty hours after being trapped there by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake. On Wednesday, the Czech mission of Caritas Internationalis sent a team of experts to investigate the situation, and the head of the mission, Martin Váně, who is currently in Aceh, says a rescue team will now follow.
Rescue teams will now be working at the scene of the catastrophe, equipped to tunnel through the wreckage for survivors. Those above the rubble are without infrastructure and are in need of medicine, fuel, drinking water and shelter. The Czech charity People in Need is beginning its exploratory mission and has freed up half a million crowns for immediate humanitarian aid. Mr Váně of Caritas says there are two key words in terms of how Czechs can help the situation: money and media.
For more information on the work of Czech charity organisations in Sumatra and elsewhere see for http://www.charita.cz/default.asp?nLanguageID=2 for Caritas Czech Republic and http://peopleinneed.cz/indexen.php for People in Need.