By Sophie York
A compassionate and infrequently stunning account of the Boxing Day tsunami advised through the 1st Australian surgical crew into Banda Aceh.
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Extra resources for Angels of Aceh: The compelling story of Operation Tsunami Assist
If they faltered, you gave them a role. You might ask them to look out for someone else. People would psychologically gain confidence from that and approach their other tasks positively, which they had previously found daunting. Human psychology in stressful situations was complex. You had to find a way to harness the very vestiges of their spirit. As he had already shown in his dealings with the truck driver, Jeff’s interpersonal skills would be crucial. It was stinking hot out at Fakinah hospital, and the work was getting harder to do.
Some people drank water constantly, they were the smart ones. It was the only way to keep up your endurance in the heat. Everyone was helping themselves to the bottles of water that were sitting on the pallets. There was no other water. The team were using bottled water for drinking, washing their hands, shaving, and for cooking instant noodles. The team packed away lecture room chairs, swept floors, moved things to make room for their supplies. The boxes and grey space-cases were stacked up to the ceiling at a point a third of the way along the empty lecture room to demarcate the women’s sleeping quarters, and to hold up and reinforce the ceiling, which appeared to have been damaged in the earthquake which had triggered the tsunami.
Paul noticed piles of rubble along the route, and saw several large burial sites being dug out by cranes. Mass graves. In spite of the heat, he felt goosebumps. Mass graves were on television, not by a roadside in your reality. There was a strong smell of decay in the air. They arrived at last at Fakinah hospital, which was a white two-storey building in the shape of a square that enclosed a large internal quadrangle. There were open balconies, painted white with a brown wooden criss-cross pattern, running all the way round the second storey.
Angels of Aceh: The compelling story of Operation Tsunami Assist by Sophie York