Playing Politics with Aid US
Author: Acheh groups
Category: Acheh Tsunami
Indonesian Military is Playing Politics with Aid US-Acheh groups
rally at the UN calling for its leadership in disaster relief
chenese and U.S. groups called on the United Nations to
exercise leadership they declared essential for a coordinated,
efficient and impartial relief effort in the tsunami-stricken
region of Acheh. Condemning the Indonesian government's haphazard
response they urged an international disaster relief operation to
avoid a catastrophic increase in the death toll that had already
claimed close to 100,000 lives in Acheh, Indonesia.
"The Indonesian civilian government and military is unable or
unwilling to quickly distribute aid to all survivors of this
disaster. The lack of disaster response coordination among
ministries and the military is compounded by notoriously corrupt
military and civilian institutions," said Robert Jereski, U.S.
Coalition for Earthquake and Tsunami Relief in Acheh.
In an Associated Press report today, a military spokesman, Col.
Ahmad Yani Basuki, acknowledged that operations against the rebels
were continuing. The pro-independence Free Acheh Movement (GAM)
declared a unilateral cease fire on December 27.
"The Indonesian military should immediately implement a ceasefire so
that aid can flow without restrictions to all effected areas
irrespective of any perceived political affiliations.
This humanitarian disaster goes beyond political divisions - it is
about the survival of those left," Reyza Zain, Acheh Center, USA.
The demonstrators urged the international community to demand that
organizations with greater experience in disaster relief be given
logistical authority. They requested that the coordination of
relief efforts be overseen by the United Nations.
The estimated death toll in Acheh has exceeded 90,000, with the UN
reporting over 1 million people needing food aid, making the region
of Acheh the hardest hit by the tsunami disaster. Yet the Indonesian
government has stalled and restricted international aid groups and
volunteers from entering affected areas.
Yesterday, the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare
Alwi Shihab admitted that for the first two days after the disaster,
his government was at a loss of what to do.
"That's a poor excuse. The international community was requesting
access to Acheh from the get-go," said Robert Jereski, Director of
the U.S. Coalition for Earthquake and Tsunami Relief in Acheh.
"What's the excuse now for the restriction of access and the
refusal to deliver food to hungry people outside the refugee
"We are outraged by the continued fighting, while the people of Acheh
are dying from starvation, contaminated water and widespread
injuries", said Jessica Rucell, from the San Francisco Acheh Working