Luciana Ferrero is an Italian with 26 years of experience working in Indonesia in community developments. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail she sent to a friend at the University of Washington School of Public Health seeking advice.

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Luciana Ferrero is an Italian with 26 years of experience working in Indonesia in community developments. She has lived in the Aceh province of Indonesia. Now based in Jakarta, she works as an interpreter and photographer. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail she sent to a friend at the University of Washington School of Public Health seeking advice. This is published with her permission:




Everything and everybody is dreadfully disorganized. All the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) call for volunteers, but there is no coordination anywhere.


I am trying to put together a basic kit for each volunteer who goes to Aceh province. In a situation like this where there is no food or water I do not think a team should be in there more than a week. Then it should be replaced and so on at least until things are better organized. Otherwise we send volunteers to become victims, too.


The things most needed are: coordination, body-removal teams, mobile kitchens and personnel and medical staff.


Meanwhile, people are getting stuck in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra. Garuda, the national airline, not only is not adding planes to Aceh, it is canceling them.


The roads are unsafe because of heavy looting so going to Banda by road is not an option. There are 10 tons of food and clothing stuck in Garuda’s cargo and at the military airport in Jakarta.


Please give me all the advise you can. Too many good hearted people but no organization. And we must not forget Nias province in North Sumatra, which also got hit.


So far I have this down for the personal kit. Please let me know what else is needed.


* Masks


* Surgical gloves


* Insect repellent


* Wet tissues


* Vitamin C


* Band-Aids


* Cereal bars and chocolate


* Camphor oil (to impregnate the masks)


* Betadine (anti-infectant)


* Anti-malaria medicine




Can you think of anything else or is there something that is not needed?


Lots of children have died, and many more are traumatized. What can we do?




Today’s update: We are identifying distribution channels through the International Office for Migration, and there are medical teams going in. Now that the ban has been lifted on foreign aid getting into Aceh things may brighten up.