Wednesday, January 12, 2005

First responder report from the tsunami zone

Argghhh! supplies an on the scene report from a US Navy pilot who was part of the USS Abraham Lincoln battle group's first response at Bander Aceh
We have set up a system now to have twelve of our Helicopters flying from sunrise to sunset to assist. We have been carrying everything from biscuits, rice, noodles, milk, water and medical supplies. We transport doctors and medical staff as well. The Indonesian people are in need of everything. Their homes along the coast have been washed away and we are finding them wondering aimlessly with no ability to acquire food, water or badly needed medical assistance. They all lack the ability to communicate as all phone lines are destroyed and there is no electricity. As our pilots drop off these supplies there are stories of the Indonesians hugging them with relief and joy. Our pilots then fly North to return back to Banda Aceh for resupply and they are finding small pockets of personnel who do not have any aid. They are able to pick many of them up and fly them to Banda Aceh. Most are near death. Yesterday we had a helo land with seven badly injured or dehydrated personnel all in critical condition. One was a seven year old little girl. The doctors told me we saved her life as she would not have lived through the night. I couldn't help but think of my beautiful daughters and it was then that I realized the gravity of what we really were doing.

We will continue this effort as long as we are needed. It is difficult to imagine shifting back to fixed wing flight ops and leaving the area any time soon as the work to be done is almost insurmountable...
Please read it all.

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