NEWS RELEASE #8: MERCY Malaysia leads NGO coordination efforts to Palu 

Kuala Lumpur, 9 October 2018… Agensi Pengurusan Bencana Negara (NADMA) coordinated the deployment of humanitarian assistance to disaster-struck Central Sulawesi, with MERCY Malaysia tasked to facilitate the distributions of relief items upon arrival. Four Malaysian NGOs – MERCY Malaysia, Disaster Aid, Yayasan Inai and Volunteer Malaysia (formerly known as IM4U) – had been involved in this joint partnership.

A total of 4,416 kgs of relief items comprising medical items, feminine care products, personal care products, sleeping bags and temporary shelters were sent off by TUDM’s C-130 at the Subang Royal Malaysia Air Force Base at 5 pm.

MERCY Malaysia’s items consisted of assets for the establishment of a Field Hospital, which will be set up at an area in Palu which has yet to receive medical care. Many areas still do not have access to medical services because the roads or bridges have crashed. Many people are also afraid of going to the hospital because they do not want to see dead bodies.

The EMT team had yesterday visited Sigi, one of the worst-hit areas which had experienced a rare geographical phenomenon known as ‘liquefaction’. This is where the soil practically melted away in wave-like motions. The liquefaction had totally changed the landscape of the area, with a corn field that was previously located on a hill top now located at the foothill where a paddy field used to be.

The paddy field is now nowhere to be seen, and local authorities have reported that an estimated 5,000 people are still unaccountable for in that area.

Meanwhile, the medical team continued conducting mobile clinics to two or three different locations daily. Yesterday, 95 patients were treated for various conditions, the most common being injuries, cold and colds, respiratory and skin infections.

With logistics and transportation still a major problem, the team used whatever resources and areas to set up clinics, sometimes at the homes of villagers, mosques, open fields, even under a tree by the sea. Patients in the town area even visit the medical team at night back at the base camp at Donggala to seek help for their medical conditions.

Urgent funds are needed to help the people affected, and every bit will make a difference. Donations collected stand at RM461,107.53, with RM211,114 being spent to date.

Contributions 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.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Chan Li Jin        E: lijin.chan@mercy.org.my  /    M:+6012-325 2067

NEWS RELEASE #7: MERCY Malaysia overwhelmed with requests from caring Malaysians

Kuala Lumpur, 8 October 2018… MERCY Malaysia has been overwhelmed with calls and emails from caring Malaysians ten days into the Palu and Donggala earthquake and tsunami that has claimed 1,763 lives to date. Many have offered to collect old clothes, donate mineral water or other items as a show of solidarity with our Sulawesi neighbours.

However, the non-governmental and non-profit organisation has been unable to accept donations in kind as logistics and transportation remains a major problem in disaster-struck Sulawesi. As fuel and energy are costly and scarce at the moment, the costs of everything have increased by several folds.

On top of flight charges, there are also customs charges and other fees that make it hugely uneconomical to bring aid items across, advises Norazam Ab Samah, MERCY Malaysia’s executive council member and team leader of the Palu relief response.

For the same reason, requests from concerned people who would like to assist MERCY Malaysia at the tsunami and earthquake affected areas could not be fulfilled for now. Norazam explains that the medical team, who is currently conducting mobile clinics and has treated over 400 patients across 6 towns, does not have the capacity to attend to additional team members.

The people in Palu urgently need essential items such as shelter, food, water and personal care items, which are best purchased locally to help revive the economy, he advises. Norazam speaks from his recent experience from the Lombok earthquake, where the farming population suffered huge losses when their produce were not collected by traders for sale.

He urges caring Malaysians to be creative in extending assistance to those affected, such as raising funds through a charity car wash, holding a fund-raising movie night or passing the hat around in their local community. The funds can then be transmitted to NGOs already on the ground to build shelter kits, purchase food packs and hygiene items, plus provide medical care to people in hard-to-reach places in Palu.

As of today, MERCY Malaysia has a team of 13 on the ground, conducting medical clinics, assessments for Emergency Medical Team (EMT) and aid distributions. The EMT this morning donated spinal block (anesthetic medications for lower limbs) to Indonesian NGO Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C) for 60 patients to help in their surgeries. Plans are underway to donate tents, hospital beds, toilet and suture sets and medications for the setting up of a Field Hospital.

“Several locations have been identified as potential sites,” states Prof Dr Shalimar Abdullah, MERCY Malaysia’s Vice President II and an EMT medical logistics specialist. “It will likely be at an area which has yet to receive medical care due to its remote location or being cut off after the earthquake destroyed major road systems.”

With 67,000 houses damaged and 71,000 people displaced, plans are underway 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 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.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Chan Li Jin        E: lijin.chan@mercy.org.my  /    M:+6012-325 2067

NEWS RELEASE #6: MERCY Malaysia’s mobile clinics bring healing to Palu

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.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Chan Li Jin | E: lijin.chan@mercy.org.my | M:+6012-325 2067

NEWS RELEASE #5: MERCY Malaysia steps up response at Palu

Kuala Lumpur, 5 October 2018…As the impact and devastation from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Palu and Donggala on 28 September slowly unravels, MERCY Malaysia steps up its response with a three-pronged approach to provide shelter, food and medical services. 11 team members are on the ground at Palu, consisting of medical practitioners and technical experts, working with local partner PKPU Human Initiative.

The static clinic established in Silae, Palu, received almost 50 patients within its two hours of operations yesterday. The clinic, which offered Primary Health Care and wound care, also provided counselling and medical advice on safety and communicable diseases in light of the unsanitary conditions following the tsunami.

A second clinic is due to opened at the town of Talise, while a Field Hospital is being planned to support the local hospital that is at bursting point with injured and ill patients.

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 Indomeeand sleeping under the stars.

Living conditions and transportation remain challenging, with food and non-food items taking 18-20 hours to arrive at Palu from Makassar. MERCY Malaysia has started distributing 100 Shelter Kits today, 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.

With over 66,000 houses destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami, the need for transit homes is enormous. Power supply has yet to be restored, hence there is a huge demand for fuel. However, fuel prices and supply are severely limited as it needs to be transported in via the nearest town, Mamuju, which is 8-10 hours away.

As such, people are using fuel sparingly, such as reducing vehicle use, turning off their cell phones to maximise battery strength and using their generator sets only for limited hours in the night.

The teams are working closely with the Indonesian Emergency Response and Assessment Team and Indonesia’s disaster relief agency, Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana in identifying further needs.

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.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Chan Li Jin        E: lijin.chan@mercy.org.my  /    M:+6012-325 2067

NEWS RELEASE #4: MERCY Malaysia begins relief work in earthquake and tsunami-struck Palu 

Kuala Lumpur, 5 October 2018…As the impact and devastation from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Palu and Donggala on 28 September slowly unravels, MERCY Malaysia steps up its response with a three-pronged approach to provide shelter, food and medical services. 11 team members are on the ground at Palu, consisting of medical practitioners and technical experts, working with local partner PKPU Human Initiative.

The static clinic established in Silae, Palu, received almost 50 patients within its two hours of operations yesterday. The clinic, which offered Primary Health Care and wound care, also provided counselling and medical advice on safety and communicable diseases in light of the unsanitary conditions following the tsunami.

Many of the villagers are afraid to go home, shares medical officer Dr Jasmine Avaxxx, so they are camping out in tents or makeshift tarpaulin tents. With widespread destruction as far as the eye can see, the villagers affected try to stay positive by not thinking of their losses and cracking jokes, such as eating too much Indomeeand sleeping under the stars.

Living conditions and transportation remain challenging, with food and non-food items taking 18-20 hours to arrive at Palu from Makassar. MERCY Malaysia has started distributing out tarpaulin sheets today, and assessments have begun for the building of transit Rumah Senyum.

Apart from providing medical assistance, the clinic will also help in collating data on disease prevalence, and provide surveillance data to the local health authorities. This is to monitor the possibility of outbreaks in water-borne or infectious diseases.

After travelling by road for days, the MERCY Malaysia relief teams arrived at Donggala, one of areas that was worst-hit in the earthquake and tsunami last Saturday that has claimed over 1,800 lives and left over 71,000 people homeless in Central Sulawesi.

The team arrived early this morning to a scene of massive destruction, with over 66,000 houses razed to the ground and people sleeping out in tents. Tensions are high, as many of the villages have not had any food or water in the last few days. Clean water supply is currently being supplied by NGOs or public buildings such as mosques, but supplies are fast depleting.

Upon arrival at Donggala, the medical volunteers sorted out the medications and other supplies, while other team members attended coordination meetings with the Indonesian Emergency Response and Assessment Team and Indonesia’s disaster relief agency, Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana.

The team also surveyed sites at Talisa, Silae, Ulu Jadi and Kota Palu to assess the most pressing needs in the area. Food supplies, temporary shelter and hygiene kits are some of the primary concerns, apart from medical care.

“People are still in a daze and traumatised by the incidents,” says Norazam Ab Samah, Executive council member of MERCY Malaysia and team leader of the Palu/Donggala humanitarian response. “We have to stay focused on our tasks at hand so as not to feel overwhelmed by the general sense of sadness around.”

Apart from transportation, price hikes in basic necessities are main challenges in providing relief aid to the communities affected.

A food pack which contains cooking oil, rice, sugar, biscuits, salt and other dry rations cost RM170 for a family of four, while shelter kits with mats, blankets, mosquito repellent, nails and a tarpaulin sheet costs RM420. Hygiene kits consisting of underwear, sanitary napkins, comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving kit, nail cutter and soap would cost RM180.

“We urgently appeal for donations from caring Malaysians to help the people affected. Every bit will make a difference, so no amount is too small,” urges Norazam. Donations can be made to Palu Relief Fund (MBB 5621 7950 4126) on Malaysia’s website www.mercy.org.my. All contributions are tax-exempted.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Chan Li Jin        E: lijin.chan@mercy.org.my  /    M:+6012-325 2067