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Oregon Volunteers Rush Aid to Indonesian Flood Victims

February 8, 2007

Rising floodwaters in Indonesia have Oregonians rushing to help. It's an area that also was hit by an earlier earthquake and the devastating 2004 tsunami.

Oregon-based Mercy Corps has volunteers on the ground in Jakarta, Indonesia, distributing emergency supplies today. David Evans is among the volunteers there, who says the flood waters top 13 feet in some areas. However, he adds they don't seem to be dampening the spirits of the 340,000 Indonesians who still can't return to their homes.

"It's amazing to see a lot of smiles and laughter. Resiliency is hardly even the word for what I'm seeing. I see a
lot of strength, even when the conditions are just desperate."

Mercy Corps was fortunate to be among the first humanitarian aid groups on the scene, since they had already been working in many Indonesian communities, helping with post-tsunami economic development projects.

"Now we've switched into emergency relief, to provide some equipment and supplies to help them get through this very difficult time. And then we will continue our longer-term work."

Evans adds his team is particularly concerned about the potential for a disease outbreak due to contaminated water. He
says they're trying to make sure residents have water purification kits to help prevent an epidemic.

Dondrea Warner/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - OR