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Operation Palu – Days 11-16

On 28 September 2018, a shallow, large earthquake struck in the neck of the Minahasa Peninsula, Indonesia, with its epicentre located in the mountainous Donggala Regency, Central Sulawesi.

Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project

Location: Palu, Indonesia – 2018
Disaster Relief: Multiple Earthquakes + Tsunami + Liquefaction
Casualties: 7,000+

Days 11-12 -We have been working a remote area of Palu, where it seems everyone has gone unnoticed… There is extensive medical attention needed here, yet it is so remote, the people are left to fend for themselves.

Take this little boy for example… Raman is just 6 years old. His right arm was snapped when his home fell on top of him. He sat in pain, with a broken arm for 17 days! His parents could not afford the travel or medical costs to take him to the hospital. HARP put him in a vehicle, and took him to the hospital immediately! The x-ray shows just how serious this really was.

X-ray of the broken arm of Raman a 7 year old who had been suffering for 17 days - Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project
X-ray of the broken arm of Raman a 7 year old who had been suffering for 17 days

Then there was this 58 year old man. He had lower back pain. He fell as he was running out of his home during the massive earthquake. It was determined that his back was out of place. Burke reset his back, and as soon as the man stood up, we could see the sense of relief in his face… all smiles!

Burke Bryant resets the back of an injured earthquake victim
Burke Bryant resets the back of an injured earthquake victim

There was another young boy who had a 102° fever. It continued to rise… We grabbed a bucket of cold water and got to work. After some meds and proper care, his temperature began to drop.

Also, a 68-year-old man… He and his wife had their home fall on them as well. They both escaped the rubble, but his wife died 3 days later from internal injuries! He was left with his foot split wide open. It was infected, and he had no way of keeping it clean and wrapped. The HARP team, along with Backpacker Medics, made sure it was cleaned extensively, disinfected, and wrapped. He was left with pain medication and extra dressings.

Raman sitting at the hospital waiting to go into surgery to fix his broken arm

Upon arriving to Palu, Indonesia, our plan was to stay for 2 weeks… But after seeing the lack of support, and the amount of people with serious injuries, this has changed.

HARP has decided to stay for 7 more days, up to the end of our 20 day visa. We will continue providing much needed medical attention to those suffering in silence.

If you would like to help us to continue this care in Indonesia, please consider a donation to HARP. Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project is a 501 (c)3 organization, and every cent goes directly to the care of those shown in the pictures I share. Thank you, from all of us on the ground. You are saving lives!

Day 13

Today, we continued our medical work in the remote areas of Palu… We started the day with a man who had a life-threatening foot wound. It was cut open by the rubble of his home and became infected. The infection spread with the lack of proper care and cleanliness. He is now on the verge of sepsis, losing his foot, or possibly death. Along with the Backpacker Medics, we made sure his wound was properly cleaned, disinfected, and wrapped. He was then transported to the hospital for further care.

Treating an infected foot laceration on the verge of sepsis - Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project
Treating an infected foot laceration on the verge of sepsis

Next, we found a man in a small camp, who had a severely broken leg. It had completely snapped, and the upper piece of bone shifted down… both pieces were side by side. One leg was now 4 inches shorter than the other. He was running the risk of a piece of the bone severing an artery, and potential death.

Broken femur splinted. Man prepares to be transported to hospital by the team
Man with broken femur bone prepares to be transported to hospital by the team

The problem we have been running into, is that people here don’t want to go to the hospital. Sometimes it’s due to money, sometimes due to fear… but this time it was because the man and his family believes in traditional medicine. He had been taken to the hospital previously, and his family brought him home. They took the brace off, rubbed some herbs on it, wrapped it with a cloth, and put a couple sticks under the cloth.

After spending about 20 minutes building trust with the man and his brother, explaining why the hospital was his best option, and that he could die. He finally agreed, shook my hand and smiled. A brace was placed on his right thigh to support the bone during transport. The Backpacker Medics loaded him into the truck, and he was off to the hospital!

Burke Bryant and the Backpacker Medic team load an injured man into the transport
Burke Bryant and the Backpacker Medic team load an injured man into the transport

Several other non life threatening injuries were also treated today, including the following… Fever, back pain, infections, allergies, rash, etc.

A BIG thank you and shout out to Backpacker Medics! We have worked alongside these amazing men and women from Australia for the last several days. They are highly talented, have a genuine love for people, and are not afraid to do whatever it takes to save lives!

Rebeka Peck and Jennie Chesters of Backpacker Medics work on infected foot laceration
Rebeka Peck and Jennie Chesters of Backpacker Medics work on an infected foot laceration

Another BIG thank you and shout out to Ethan Lovell at Waves For Water for supplying Sawyer water products!!

Burke Bryant and Ethan Lovell take a moment to rest and hydrate
Burke Bryant and Ethan Lovell take a moment to rest and hydrate

Throughout the day, we worked with Ethan to be proactive, by preventing future sickness and disease. They supplied water filters for many families so that they could have clean drinking water. This is extremely important, as most rely on the river or well water, or have dirty water delivered to them. This water can be contaminated with heavy metals, or many nasty diseases, like cholera and giardia.

A remote village where we medically treated several injured people

 

As always, thank you all for your continued support! Tomorrow, it will allow us to search for more who need our help.

Days 14 & 15

Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project

The last 2 days, we traveled deep into the jungles of Indonesia, to reach the most remote area yet… We took trucks and motorcycles for 3 hours each way… The roads were rough and dangerous, with animals and people jumping out at every corner.

Joe Knight from Backpacker Medics and Ryan Bartholomew carefully pass a landslide - Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project
Joe Knight from Backpacker Medics and Ryan Bartholomew carefully pass a landslide

We rode past multiple mudslides, with large boulders dropping from the cliffs, through deep mud in the dark to get to those who needed our help the most.

Quickly passing through a massive mudslide area - Burke Bryant - Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project
Quickly passing through a massive mudslide area

Working alongside Ethan Lovell with Waves For Water hundreds of people were supplied with, and instructed in the use of Sawyer Water Filters, to turn their contaminated water supply into clean drinking water! This is crucial, as it prevents future sickness and disease!

Ryan Bartholomew helps Waves For Water build out clean water system
Ryan Bartholomew helps Waves For Water build out clean water filter system

We continued our work with the awesome Backpacker Medics team… They supplied medical support to over 35 patients. These included broken bones (1 being a double break), head trauma, ringworm, fever, minor and major lacerations, etc.

Majorly infected foot laceration on a 16 year old girl
Majorly infected foot laceration on a 16 year old girl

We worked on a woman who was pregnant and bleeding. She was transferred to the hospital and is doing great. We also followed up with multiple people from our previous care, to confirm their well being.

Meylin Esterida Moganti helps to check the health conditions of the local villagers

A huge thank you to YanaMeylin, and Ulul for their hard work! They have been right beside us the entire way, to translate and break through the language barrier. Without the 3 of you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do!

 Yana Lakanya, Ulul Azmi RA and Meylin Esterida Moganti.
 Yana Lakanya, Ulul Azmi RA and Meylin Esterida Moganti.

Days 16 & 17…

It is with a heavy heart that we come to a close, as there are still medical concerns in this area and a need for long term support and rebuilding. Our Visa expires in 2 days… We must leave for now, but we are working with the local government to put together a plan moving forward.

Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project
This split caused by the earthquake went for miles. It was also about 6-8 feet deep

Today, we flew to Jakarta to meet with the Chief of BNPB, the national agency of disaster management. We shared our knowledge on local medical concerns, areas of high risk, landslides, and more. A major topic was the effective handling of landslides, and how it can impact the ability to not only saves lives on the road, but also open up access for water, food, and life saving medical to remote areas.

Burke Bryant speaking to the chief of the BNPB about disaster aid
Burke Bryant speaking to the chief of the BNPB about disaster aid

It is great to see this man’s genuine concern for the people of Indonesia, and we are proud to play a part in setting this plan in place.

BNPB main operations center in Jakarta, Indonesia

 

It was an honor to work alongside Backpacker Medics and Waves For Water. These men and women literally gave blood, sweat, and tears working to save lives! We experienced countless physical, mental, and environmental challenges throughout this operation, and not once did anyone even think about slowing down.

Rebeka Peck from Backpacker Medics treating an earthquake victim
Rebeka Peck from Backpacker Medics treating an earthquake victim

 

Thank you to Kristin Smith and Sarah Griffith for having our backs 24/7 while on the ground. Your countless hours of support made this mission so much smoother! Thank you Yana LakanyaUlul Azmi RA, and Meylin Esterida Moganti for your dedication to our team, your hard work, and your support with local language and travel.

Also a huge thank you to everyone who donated to our operation. Your generosity immediately saved hundreds of lives, and will allow us to save thousands over time with the prevention of sickness and disease. We could not have done this without all of you!!

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