To Give is to Care

When I visited the evacuation camp (Posko Maguwoharjo) , I noticed there is large excess of adult cloths. But there weren’t enough cloths for the younger ones. The logistic-in-charge there have informed us of their needs, which are commonly overlooked by the public donation. You can either contribute in the form of money or providing items for their daily needs.

List of logistic needed:

To provide warmth and comfort (the stadium is open air, very cold at night, especially during raining): Tikar (Mat), carpet, blanket

Toiletry: Soap, body shampoo, hair shampoo, tooth brush, tooth paste, towel

Cleaning: Cloths washing powder, brush, dish wash liquid

Food: biscuit, mineral water

Special food: baby milk for all ages, milk for elderly, milk for pregnant mothers

Footwear: Sandals of all sizes

Cloths: Undergarments for male /female, bra of all sizes, clothes for children & baby

Education: School stationery for children

Special need: Elderly diapers

Religion: Praying head-scarf (kain sembayang) for muslim women


(logistic post: more items are needed because the evacuation camp is expected to run for the next few months)

You are most welcome to contact me if you are willing to contribute in any forms.

We have also collaborated with Persatuan Pelajar-Pelajar Malaysia di Indonesia Cawangan Yogyakarta (PKPMI-CY) to launch Donation Drive for the Merapi Victims.

Donation Drive for PKPMI-CY Merapi Eruption Victims Funds

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I can’t Breathe!

My dear friends, do you still remember the situation when Jogja was covered by volcanic on 31 Oct 2010? The sulphur smell was so strong that I almost wanna puke. There was so much volcanic dust in the air that it almost suffocated me. Thank God, I have the facial mask that filtered the air. Now the disaster is over. The mask is out of sight.

My dear friends, do you still remember the fear we had when we heard thunders of Mt. Merapi during the eve of 5 Nov 2010? The TV media was broadcasting non-stop about the update of the eruption. The danger zone was expanded to 20km.  It was raining ash, and even, rocks in our neighbourhood! Thank God, I still have the house that sheltered me from the ash and rocks. Now the disaster is over. The volcano eruption news is also out of sight.

Mt. Merapi has cooled down. The danger zone has shrunk in radius. We are back to school and everything is running perfectly like normal. Everybody is going back to their home. That is the end of the disaster.

IS THIS TRUE, my dear friends? The DISASTER IS OVER?

Out of 400,000 people evacuated during the Merapi Eruption, 90% has gone home. Quite a promising figure. How about the remaining 10%? They are HOMELESS!

To date,  44,465 people are HOMELESS!

Their houses were destroyed during the disaster. Some were directly burnt by the projected magma (imagine a fireball strike your house). Some were ruined by the strong forces of lahar dingin (imagine a tsunami, not made by water, but mixture of gas, soil and rocks, swallowing your house as it passes by). Some villages were just simply buried under the ashes! Ground zero!

These victims are waiting for the local government to build shelter for them. And the construction process is going to take months. Frankly speaking, do you believe the local government has the financial ability to build shelters for forty thousand people?

I beg you, please, no mater where you come from:

Help us in the reconstruction process.

Help us to provide warmth and comfort to the victims.

Help us to bring some hope to the evacuees who stare into distance in uncertainty!

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There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed. ” – Woodrow Wilson

Donation Drive for PKPMI-CY Merapi Eruption Victims Funds

UGM Medical Faculty Volunteer Team in Collaboration with Malaysian Student Association (PKPMI-CY)

Please help to spread the need of humanitarian aid by sharing this post in your social network (Facebook, Twitter). Thanks.

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Visit to Posko Maguwoharjo

On the 27 Nov 2010, a group of students from UGM Medical Faculty has visited the main evacuation camp for the Merapi Eruption victims. It is located  to the north of Ring Road Utara. After passing Casa Grande, turn left through the Pintu Gerbang Sanatadharma. Follow the road and curve towards left if necessary till you come to a T-junction. Take a left turn, and go straight. You will soon find a big stadium on your right named Posko Maguwoharjo.


Upon reaching the stadium, we were impressed by the magnificent stadium. One question poped up in my mind, how is this building going to accommodate 30,000 people during the peak period of the Merapi Eruption? I will soon find out.


(Our team members from left to right: Nia, Imran, Irene, Alia, Sudin, William, Ain, photographed by Aisyah)

The first scene we witnessed is the gathering of about 100 children in front of the main post. Their teachers were briefing them about the outdoor activities. The transportation (angkut) was ready and the chuffers looked happy to begin their fun journey of the day. This is a big contrast to my expectation. Instead of seeing sorrow and gloominess, we are greeted by happiness and cheerfulness.


Have a nice day, my little ones!


We started our ‘tour’ by surveying the venue. The posts such as logistic, health, daily needs, cloths and food are located at the peripheral of the ground floor.


Some of the evacuees are still sleeping on the mat at 9am, using a pile of cloths or some material as their pillow. While of them just sat there and stared into distance. They looked slightly bored, and had no interest to interact with their neighbours. “A potential candidate for depression”, my brained recalled, from the understanding of mental health.


Before venturing to the individual posts, we quickly went around the stadium to identify the available facility. It was the first exposure for me to learn about the “military kitchen”.


We spent some time talking to the lady in charge of packaging the rice. “We worked from 4am till 12am everyday to prepare food for almost 6,500 remaining evacuees. We are very short of helping hands to pack the food and dish. Would you like to help?”, said the female volunteer from Jakarta.


I briefly scanned through the kitchen area and counted about 80 pots of rice are cooked at the same time. It is such a big project to feed six thousand mouth, 3 times a day. Imagine the disaster when the stadium was flooded with 30,000 people 3 weeks ago.


A standard Javanese meal is not complete without having the Teh Hangat or Es Teh. The evacuees need water for drinking, washing and so on. The clean water source is taken from the available water processing facility meant for the stadium. They are also water trucks carrying water source of other region.

This is briefly the physical aspect of the evacuation camp. We will further explore the other aspects in the coming post. Stay tuned.

– UGM Medical Faculty Volunteers Team –

Donation Drive for PKPMI-CY Merapi Eruption Victims Funds

*Please share this post at your social network (Facebook) to help us in our efforts to recruit volunteers. Thanks*

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Mt. Bromo ~ Another pending disaster?

When I read the news on Detik regarding the increasing activities of Mt. Bromo, I was wondering whether Indonesia will be ready to handle another slow-onset disaster. Located in the centre of Java Island, Mt. Merapi has just exploded on 26 Nov 2010. It is really too soon to know that the status of Mt. Bromo ( located at East Java) has been raised to the highest level of alertness.


(scenic view of Mt. Bromo, East Java)

If I were the head of the Badan Nasional Penanggulan Bencana (BNPB), which is the national bureau responsible for managing disasters, I would probably having a severe headache on the series of disaster- Mentawai Tsunami, Merapi Eruption and Wasior Papua Flood. Nevertheless, we still have to face the challenges. The chart below depicts the conceptual framework of disaster management.


I am really glad to know that Palang Merah Indonesia (Red Cross Indonesia) has expressed readiness to establish command post in the slopes of Mount Bromo, on Thursday noon (25/11). According to the plan, PMI will establish the command post with a distance of 5-7 km from the summit of Mount Bromo. This can be considered as the “Preparedness” step according to the conceptual framework.


(large amount of gases and volcanic ash released by Mt.Bromo, 24 Nov 2010)

Recent news reported by PMI Probolinggo Crisis Center, local government has issued an announcement that the area, a distance of up to 3 km from the top of Bromo must be sterilized and become a disaster prone area. Lautan Pasir, savanna desert, the “Teletubbies” hill and Penajakan 1 now has been a restricted area for tourists and residents. It is feared, toxic sulfur gases from Mount Bromo would endanger visitors and local people. From here, we can see that the local government has perform “mitigation” to minimise the impact should the volcano erupts.


From the lesson of Mt. Merapi Eruption, I hope the health authority at the Mt.Bromo region is actively preparing for the disaster by purchasing and storing the necessary medical equipments and drugs. Special attention has to be paid to the health facility treating breathing difficulty and burn injury so as to increase the efficiency of managing massive number of such patients.

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Reference: Hendro Wartatmo, Conceptual Frame work of Disaster and Disaster Management

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Mass Disaster Victim Identification

Yesterday I have received a lecture about the victim identification during the Merapi Eruption, 2010 and Garuda Plane crash, 2007. It was an eye-opening lecture as the lecturer revealed the details during the case management. The volcano eruption took away 300 lives while the plane crash recorded 22 deceased. This lecture has stirred my interest in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) because I feel the importance and urgency to resolve this matter accurately so as the release the dead bodies to their love ones. For further knowledge, I have read the report on Tsunami Victim Identification in Thailand.


(Thailand tsunami, 2004)

From the above 3 cases, I would like to conclude that an established mass disaster management system is imperative to handle this matter efficiently. When a disaster happens, the local authority would be able to respond according to the standard protocol.


(Acheh earthquake and tsunami,2004)

When the corpses are found, it is essential to label the bodies and note the location. This would facilitate identification process later on. Of course the easiest way of identification is by facial recognition by the surrounding people. When facial recognition is not possible, the place of found would suggest a clue about the identity of  the victim. For example, burnt dead bodies in air plane crash can be determined through seat allocation provided by the airline company.


(Garuda plane crash at Yogyakarta Airport, 2007)

Upon recovery, corpses will be sent to the forensic department for post-mortem identification. The sex, age range, stature and special characteristic will be recorded. If the number of victims is massive, such categorization would facilitate the reconciliation process, which is matching the ante-mortem data and the post-mortem data.


(transfer of the dead bodies from the Garuda plane crash, 2007)

After taking post mortem data, what would the authority do about the corpses? If the victims are identified, the bodies will be released to their family. The family can opt for individual burial, or mass burial together with other victims. Unidentified corpses will be buried as well after a certain time frame ( around 3 days) if refrigerators and other means of preservation are not available. When these victims are identified later on, the family has the option to transfer the remains to other graveyard.

Reference: Pongruk, 2005, Forensic aspect of disaster casualty management

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Dear Indonesia

Sometimes I ask, why does Indonesia has to suffer so much of natural disasters?


The recent Mt. Merapi eruption has displaced 400,000 people into temporary shelter and killed nearly 300. The tsunami at Mentawai has killed thousands and the number is increasing as more dead bodies are found.


External aid is needed for reconstruction of the destroyed houses. Some of the villages were destroyed during the eruption and the villagers no longer have a place to stay. Their children no longer able to attend school because such public facilities have been destroyed.


My dear friends, please kindly offer your help in any form. Financial aid will be greatly appreciated and can be sent to the Bank Account of the local government. Thank you.


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How to Attract Doctors to Work in Remote Area of Indonesia

We have very much know that fact that most of the doctors and specialists prefer to work in the urban area, especially in Jakarta. There is higher salary (if working in private hospitals) and better lifestyle (more entertainment like shopping mall in the cities). Although money may be the big magnet that influence the distribution of doctors, I believe that there are still other values and motivation that the doctors uphold when they register their name for the medical schools.

If one day you are in the position to decide on national health policy, what would you do to bring more doctors to the remote area? Things could be easier if Indonesia is a communist state or ruled by a dictator. The unchallenged health authority just have to issue the command. 

“Doctor X, you go area no 1. Doctor Y, you go area no 2. Doctor Z, you go area no 3. You will be stationed there for 2 years, then we will rotate again”

“Yes, Sir !”

Swift and easy. No questions asked. No protest. Everybody has equal pay. No excuse.

Too bad this is not the situation. Indonesia is a democratic country with decentralization policy. Local government has autonomy in deciding health policy. There is a total mess in coordinating the distribution of doctors. Nobody can stop the flow – the flow of doctors to urban cities!

After listening to lecture by dr. Andreasta Meliala about motivation, I would like to attempt to solve this problem utilizing the motivation theory. I will first introduce about the theory, then state my application of that theory.

Instrumentality Theory

It assumes that people only work for money. People will be motivated to work if monetary rewards and penalties are tied directly to the performance.

My suggestion: Increase the salary of doctors working in the remote area to the comparable amount in the city. Currently the salary of 2 million rupiah (200 USD)per month is too little comparable to 20-100 million rupiah (2000-10000 USD) in the cities. Give other forms of incentive like vocation package and tax reduction.

Needs Theory

It assumes that all behaviours are motivated by unsatisfied needs that creates disequilibrium.

My suggestion: I think some religious people has more desire to do good deeds than others, having a stronger need to leave an impact in the society. A common approach I notice used by my lecturers is this “Kalao bekerja di remote area, kekayaan yang dikumpuli itu bukan duniawi, tetapi surgai !”. This means “if you are willing to work in remote area, the wealth that you accumulate is not on earth, but in heaven! ”. Sounds appealing to me. Not all doctors working in remote area will go heaven, but at least the direction is right.

Expectancy Theory

Motivation is likely only when a clearly perceived relationship exist between performance and outcome, and satisfies the need.

My suggestion: Prioritize the specialization opportunity to the doctors who are willing to work in the remote area. Let them sign the service contract with the local government. Give them a mind set that working in remote area is a faster pathway to become a specialist.

Equity Theory

Motivation will be enhanced if people think they are being treated fairly.

My suggestion: Create upgrading opportunities for the doctors working in remote area. Provide seminars and updated health information so that doctors will feel that they have the same opportunity to deepen their knowledge compared to city doctor. Install telecommunication infrastructure such as the internet.

Role Model Theory

Motivation is enhanced by high-performing role model.

My suggestion: Give award to doctors working in remote area who has contributed a lot to the local community. Offer these good doctors a chance to be in the leadership position in the Ministry of Health. Perform branding on the good doctors and publicize their good deeds. This may attract the young graduates to follow the role model’s footstep to work in remote area.

These are some of my suggestion to attract doctors to work in remote area. I personally think Instrumentality Theory will be more effective compared to the rest. But who is gonna pay for it?

Reference: dr. Andreasta Meliala’s lecture on Motivation

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