Cease fire in jeopardy in Indonesia, relief may be at risk

By January 24, 2005

USA (IA/MNN) — As tsunami assistance efforts progress from emergency rescue to relief, International Aid is responding to the growing threat of outbreaks of highly communicable diseases with $4.6 million in vital pharmaceuticals. Pfizer has donated a variety of over-the counter and prescription drugs to International Aid for needs in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

International Aid’s President Myles Fish says this will help their health clinics. “We’ve already sent all of the equipment and a lot of the supplies and now the task is for us to sustain those clinics by providing the pharmaceuticals that are necessary. And, Pfizer is one of the companies that has stepped up to the plate and said they wanted to help.”

“There are now more than 500,000 people in the Banda Aceh area alone living in tightly packed refuge camps,” said International Aid President Myles Fish, who just returned from the region. “We are in a race against time to prevent the wide-spread outbreak of infectious diseases.”

Despite an informal cease-fire between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and Indonesian forces since the tsunami, Indonesian commanders say soldiers have killed 120 rebels for allegedly interfering in relief work over the past two weeks. A rebel spokesman says the army attacks had in fact killed mostly civilians and that any peace deal with the military could not be trusted — a worrying sign for hundreds of international aid workers in the troubled province.

Fish says he doesn’t know if this will affect their work in an area that’s been closed to outsiders for 30 years. “We’re hopeful that those doors will remain open. And, if they’re not, we’re working through Indonesian organizations, so that if we as outsiders can’t get in there we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to continue our ministry efforts through the Indonesians were working with.”

This relief effort is allowing I-A to show Christ’s love to those they’re helping. “Our intent is to respond to the commands of Matthew 25 to serve the least of these with our health care ministries, but we do that with the hope that we’ll be able to build the reputation and relationships with people so that we can actually participate in Matthew 28, the Great Commission.”

Funding is still a great need. You can give on-line at http://www.InternationalAid.org.

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