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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Tsunami Disaster Update Indonesia: IUF Volunteers Arriving in Aceh

Posted to the IUF website 10-Jan-2005

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An IUF team of volunteers is on its way to the city of Langsa in Indonesia's Aceh province to assess the needs of agricultural and plantation workers, their unions and their communities. The team of union members and officers from the hotel and sugar sectors includes the IUF Indonesia information officer, an IUF representative, a medical doctor, nurses, an engineer, a food and beverage technician and a driver. They will be jointly assessing the situation with regard to immediate relief and access to aid as well as reconstruction.

The IUF team will work closely with the affected agricultural and plantation workers to help rebuild the organizational capacity necessary to express their specific needs and demands and to be actively involved in the reconstruction process. Building union capacity is an essential part of IUF solidarity with workers and their communities in the disaster area and a key element in ensuring workers' rights to housing, health care and job creation as well as fair and adequate access to emergency relief and reconstruction.

In addition to surveying the situation & identifying long-term needs, the composition of the volunteer team also ensures that they will be of practical and immediate help to the tsunami victims. The IUF representative sent by the IUF Indonesia office to survey the situation in Aceh immediately after the earthquake and tsunami struck is now based in Langsa, which was not directly hit by the disaster. He has finished the initial phase of gathering information on the situation of plantation workers, but communication remains difficult. We hope to make available a full report when the first volunteer team reaches Langsa.

Reports indicate that military roadblocks are hampering the movement of displaced people as well as volunteer groups, thereby disrupting the relief effort.