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When it rains...

Indonesia, October 5, 2009

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    REUTERS/Crack Palinggi, courtesy of  </span>
    A child lies on a mattress inside a house damaged by an earthquake in Padang Pariaman, a coastal town in the Indonesian province of West Sumatra. Photo: REUTERS/Crack Palinggi, courtesy of

It’s been raining since last night in West Sumatra, sometimes heavily.

Last night, a coordination meeting between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations —which includes Mercy Corps — was held in a hastily-arranged tent outside the governor’s mansion. Voices strained to be heard over the downpour as humanitarian agencies reported on their assessments and the difficulty of reaching remote areas.

Meanwhile, in the rainy night, thousands of people all up and down the West Sumatra coast were out in the rain with no homes or shelter, afraid to go in under their roof if they still had one left. The rain has muddied the roads and made transportation even more difficult, and there are fears of additional landslides like the ones that buried entire villages in the north of the province.

Throughout the rain, the Mercy Corps team was out in the field, procuring much-needed basic items like blankets, clothing and water containers. Despite the weather, we are preparing for distribution tomorrow.