Love thy neighbour
Since December 26th, there has only been one TV station, out of 10, Metro TV, which has consistently highlighted the Aceh Tsunami tragedy. Its owner is Surya Paloh, an Acehnese whose first wife is/was a classmate of 'Er Indoors, although they have lost touch.
All I can find in the way of an online biography of this media baron is this
: Surya Paloh, a poor farmer's son, started from humble origins in Aceh. He is now the owner of Media Group and the rector of the University of Indonesia Esa Unggul. He was also the founder of the Indonesian Association of Young Businessmen. Surya Paloh started his career in the media world by publishing the Prioritas Daily in 1986. He was often an outspoken critic of Suharto. The Prioritas Daily was censured and its license to publish revoked by the Suharto government. That did not stop him. His big break founding Metro TV only came about with the fall of Suharto. When B J Habibie became president he eased media restrictions and Surya Paloh's was one of the five TV stations granted licenses under Habibie's government
There is an oil painting of him by Machyar Gleuenta, a fellow Acehnese, here
No matter, the salience of this post portion is that today Metro TV is closing its Tsunami Appeal, will have the account audited by Ernst & Young and will then devote 100% of the donations to the rebuilding of Aceh, predominantly through providing housing.
And I'm sure they will continue to keep us informed, as will the Sumatra-based Electric Lamb Mission
which has striven to provide "effective, holistic, capacity-building, culture-sensitive and community-empowering
" aid to the tsunami victims of Aceh since Day One.
Their coalition of volunteers and sponsors is doing magnificent work and will still be in Sumatra long after international aid agencies have withdrawn. Please support them.
The navy ships and chopper support are focusing on Meulaboh but the reality is that there are thousands of people in smaller and more remote communities North and South who have not had any assistance since the quake.
The following was posted yesterday:
Until our arrival yesterday
(Friday 28th January), this community had seen no aid at all, save for one insufficient food drop from a helicopter. We immediately brought them two small boats full of food, lamps (with kerosene), clothes, and hygiene supplies. They still have an urgent need for roofing iron, seeds, and more food, and we will continue to supply them in the future.
Those that have survived to this point are reasonably healthy, although there is one suspected case of malaria. But there are many flags visible along the beach, marking the gruesome remains of the many victims still not buried. We will return to the encampment today with body bags, gloves, boots and masks.
But despite what we give them, the community seems lost and hopeless without its women. To rebuild their community in a physical way seems feasible, but how can anyone measure the loss of all of their wives and children?