My father-in-law -- Dr. Dean Seibert -- is currently in Lamno, Sumatra, as part of a six-member volunteer team of medical professionals sponsored by Northwest Medical Teams, a non-profit disaster response organization headquartered in Portland, Ore.
Dean left Vermont a week after Christmas, and headed directly to Bandeh Aceh, Indonesia, one of the areas hit hardest hit by the tsunami. The team spent a week there, and then traveled by boat for 7 hours to reach Lamno where they are living in a house close to the army base and are escorted by Indonesian military for increased security.
Over the course of the next month they will be providing health care in the local clinic and traveling to a number of schools now occupied by 16,000 refugees. Each team is equipped with enough medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to treat up to 60,000 people. A second Northwest team is scheduled to join them later this week and the organization has teams operating in other tsunami affected areas as well.
As you know, the situation is dire: contaminated water supplies, a threat of cholera and dengue fever, scarce food supplies and stretchers lined up outside hospitals which have no power, no anesthesia and a shortage of surgical instruments. Those at gravest risk are people whose relatively minor injuries have now become infected and doctors are increasingly turning to amputation – a last resort in a land lacking crutches or prosthetics.
Forbes Magazine included Northwest Medical Teams as one of 10 charities on its Gold Star list. More than 96 percent of all contributions go directly to the field, where they are needed most.
If you or anyone you know is interested in contributing to this worthy cause, gifts may be made online at www.nwmedicalteams.org, by calling 1-800-959-4325, or mailing to Northwest Medical Teams, P.O. Box 10, Portland, OR 97207.
LINK: Disaster Relief Response Medical Volunteer Humanitarian Aid