Three countries, seven cities, one call

Indonesia, October 6, 2009

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Especially during the first several days in the aftermath of an disaster, a diverse group of Mercy Corps staff comes together for phone conferences to coordinate and discuss what's happening on the ground. Today, we had the second such call for the group that's helping lead emergency responses in Indonesia and Samoa.

The call brought together 16 people from three different countries: staff from two cities in Indonesia, four cities in the United States and our European headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was 8 P.M. in Indonesia and 7 A.M. in Portland, both outside the usual scope of working hours — but the early going of an emergency response is an around-the-clock, around-the-world responsibility.

Here are some of the happenings in Indonesia that we talked about on today's call:

  • Still no piped water in the city of Padang. Roads are opening up.
  • Rapid needs assessments have been completed, now our Indonesia team is putting the data together to get a better picture of needs and challenges, both immediate and long-term.
  • Distribution process has begun and has been going well. We delivered recovery kits containing wheelbarrows, shovels, hoes, saws and other equipment to almost 400 households in the village of Ulakan.
  • We're also distributing jerry cans, household kits that include blankets, sarongs, towels, buckets and some hygiene items to families that are displaced or living in damaged houses.
  • Our emergency team is going to many underserved areas of the island, as well as places where we've worked over the last few years.
  • We're using community members from the disaster risk reduction program to help distribute items — this involves training and capacity building.
  • Our team is purchasing items locally, which is a more efficient process and supports the local economy.

Tomorrow promises more reports from our hard-working team on the ground in Padang — as well as more updates here. We'll keep you notified of our work to help survivors recover and rebuild.