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For some charities, delivery is half the battle


They have a fleet of sport utility vehicles, each labeled with a large window sticker to note the arrival of Catholic Relief Services in this battered city. But almost two weeks after a wall of water destroyed half of this city, workers from Catholic Relief Services, based in Baltimore, have still not delivered any direct aid here.

The International Herald Tribune reports that the aid workers are becoming increasingly frustrated. But it is also a demonstration of the great difficulty of setting up a relief operation in such a remote location, at the western edge of Indonesia, which until recently had been off limits for most aid groups because of fighting between the government and separatists.

"Stress and frustration is what makes things happen," said Wayne Ulrich, who serves as the service's emergency assistance coordinator in Indonesia, acknowledging his disappointment with the pace of progress. "The more you are concerned, the faster things will get done."

Catholic Relief Services arrived in Banda Aceh with a modest goal: deliver about 740 "family packs," which include a mattress, pots, soap and toothbrushes, to some of the hundreds of thousands of people left homeless in this lush mountainous province. The packs are just a small part of the $25 million effort the agency is undertaking in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. As of Wednesday, the kits were still in Jakarta.

Catholic Relief Services is certainly not the only charity to get off to a slow start. But some groups already have made a major contribution to the growing response. A lack of familiarity with the Aceh region has also slowed the group's startup.

Catholic Relief Services has not previously had a field operation in Banda Aceh. In India, where it has a much larger presence, the group was able to move more quickly to help open shelters for displaced families.


SOURCE
For some charities, delivery is half the battle (International Herald Tribune 6/1/05)

LINKS
Catholic Relief Services
Caritas Australia | Caritas Australia Asian Eathquake/Tsunami Appeal

ARCHIVE
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6 Jan 2005