Monday, March 23, 2009

Letter to the UN Office of the Recovery Coordinator for Aceh and Nias

Dear M:

I am sorry that we did not chat about what was going on in Aceh Timur but I am leaving today for the States and thought you would catch me before I left. l will not be back for 2-3 weeks.

Let me first tell you that there is a coordination meeting with local NGO's and government agencies that are involved in the camp at this time. The meeting is at 10AM at Ruang Serba Guna, Idi Rayeak. We have been working with Assistant 1 and the local NGO FPRM in arranging this meeting. We do hope that you will attend. It will bring you up to date on what is happening and the players involved. I am sure an invitation has been given to UNORC in Aceh Timur. We hope to have a needs assessment ready for the meeting but it has been [a difficult process.]

There are 198 men in the camp at this time. We have been able to raise $20,000 for food for this month and another $20,000 for next month. So we feel that the food situation is under control. We also have NGO's that are donating more food. We also have a donation of latrines. This is quite important because the sanitation is really not very good at the camp and this situation could breed disease. We also have 3 months of medical care that is being donated along with para-medical personnel and hardware. This will start on the 1st or 2nd of April. We are bringing a psychologist, who is volunteering her time, with us to do mental health assessments for the refugees.

After talking with the Bupati and Assistant 1 this week we all feel that we need to move the camp. The district has land which they will donate but we are in desperate need of barracks or some type of housing. The tents that are being used now are over crowded and inadequate. We also need an interpreter to be in a better position to talk to the refugees about their needs. We are not trying to get information from them since we have no idea how to process refugees and are only filling in till IOM and UNHCR take over the camp.

We have made arrangements, which have been given government consent, to get the names and numbers of refugees to pass on to a group who work with the Rohingyas worldwide and are based in Thailand. They will inform family members that the refugee is alive and well but not divulge the location at this time.

Our office looks forward to speaking to you and hopefully to coordinate all our efforts together. We are working with quite a few NGO's and foreign governments and their agencies on getting more donations. We will keep you apprised if there is any new development.

Best Regards,

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