Eyewitness reports from tsunami disaster zone

 Andre Sugijopranoto and Edi Mulyono of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Indonesia describe the situation in Banda Aceh in the aftermath of the tsunami. Warning: The reports contain very graphic descriptions which readers may find distressing. Corpses everywhere Andre Sugijopranoto SJ Walking on foot in the streets, it is all corpses. The river behind the office is full of floating corpses. Yesterday they buried 40. Today more corpses appeared in the river. The Raya mosque is full of corpses. There is a rotten smell everywhere. Because people drowned, their stomachs are full, and today they started to tear open. The market in Banda Aceh is wiped to the ground. The stores are filled with dead bodies. (The floods came in the morning, so the stores were full, and all died). In the jail in Kedah, all inmates died inside. The Brimo Asrama is also destroyed. The hospital is destroyed, only the health station is left. Many doctors are dead. There is no medicine in the health station. Right now there are many traumatized people. People scream "water, water" while running. But there is no water. We can see people eating quietly next to dead bodies, that are rotten and smelly. Many people cry hysterically. People come to the health station although they are not sick. Children have lost their parents (one child of a doctor slept in the JRS office because his parents are gone). From the Panayung bridge there is not a single tree left. Everything is gone. In Blang Padang there are corpses. In front of the Kuala Tripa Hotel there are corpses. Someone from Meulaboh came to Banda Aceh today and said that our staff are safe. Thank God! People who lived close to the river and the sea could see water coming already five minutes after the earthquake. That is why they could not save themselves Everything is lacking now. Petrol is lacking. All markets are closed. Medicine is all out. There is no food. The military only remove the dead at night because during the day families are walking between the dead to try to identify their missing loved ones. They do not allow heavy equipment to remove the corpses, even though the corpses are decaying, out of respect for people's feelings. This is one of the reasons why four days have passed, and the dead are still there. I am also very sad. My feelings are strong, especially remembering the people in Aceh who have lost everything. Bulk-buying body bags by Edi Mulyono SJ Our staff walked around Banda Aceh this morning and saw everywhere a lot of dead people. Three days after the disaster, the dead bodies are starting to break up as today is very hot. Some dead bodies were burned; there is smoke everywhere. It seems that in the following days many people will suffer with diarrhoea and other illnesses, because of the lack of food, water and medication and the damaged infrastructure. Our staff asked for body bags. Today we just found 200 in Jakarta, and we have to order 800 more. The price of body bags in Jakarta is about $22. So for one thousand body bags only, we need $ 22,000. Last year JRS Indonesia provided body bags for East Timorese; this year the price is similar, but the number is so different. Source: JRS To donate money to aid agencies in the region telephone on 0870 60 60 900 or go to www.dec.org.uk

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