Kuala Lumpur, 7 October 2018…MERCY Malaysia deployed three Emergency Medical Team (EMT) specialists to Palu today to assist in the establishment of a Field Hospital following the earthquake and tsunami that happened on 28 Sept.
As of 6 October, Indonesia’s national disaster management agency, BNPB, reports 1,649 deaths. A further 2,550 people are seriously injured, while 265 people are still missing.
The EMT specialists, consisting of Prof Dr Shalimar Abdullah, Dr Lai Fui Boon and Dr Shahridan Mohd Fathil, will assess existing hospital services and facilities. Dr Shalimar, who also an experienced medical logistician, will also advise on the mobilising of medical equipment, and setting up of the Field Hospital in Palu.
Currently, there are nine hospitals, one field hospitals and four naval hospital ships are providing health services in the affected districts However, they are all running on limited resources, with a shortage of clean water, fuel for generator sets and lack of processing facilities for hazardous waste and toxic materials. Incubators in health clinics have also been damaged.
On top of that, accessibility and mobility are main issues. Many people are still in a state of shock, traumatised by the chain of events. Many are unable to reach the hospitals because of pain or lack of transportation from fuel shortage.
As a result, MERCY Malaysia’s mobile clinics have been gladly welcomed in the last week. To date, the medical team has travelled across 6 villages in Donggala – Silae, Talise, Loli Oge, Loli Saluran, Loli Tesiburi and Kem Pengungsian – to provide critical medical care.
Apart from injuries sustained while escaping the earthquake and tsunami, the team observed an increase in cough and colds, especially among children below 5. More medical supplies are currently being procured from Makassar to last the next two weeks.
Many of the villagers are afraid to go home, shares medical officer Dr Jasmine Avalani Chandrakant, so they are camping out in the open or in makeshift tarpaulin tents. With widespread destruction as far as the eye can see, says Dr Jasmine, the villagers affected try to stay positive by not thinking of their losses and cracking jokes, such as eating too much Indomee and sleeping under the stars.
Living conditions and transportation remain challenging, with food and non-food items taking 20-30 hours to arrive at Palu from Makassar. MERCY Malaysia has started distributing 100 Shelter Kits on Saturday, consisting of tarpaulin sheets, nails, wooden structures, blankets, mats, and mosquito repellent.
Meanwhile, assessments have begun for the building of transit homes, locally known as ‘Rumah Senyum’. Allocations for these homes are based on priority, with single mothers, senior citizens and families with young children and disabled persons given priority.
Urgent funds are needed to help the people affected, and every bit will make a difference. Donations to the Palu Relief Fund can be made to MERCY Humanitarian Fund (MBB 5621 7950 4126) or MERCY Malaysia (CIMB 8000-7929-08) or through www.mercy.org.my. All contributions are tax-exempted.