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Provision of Food and Drinking Water

Contributing Toward A Greater Cause
Source: Care USA

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, fresh water became a scarce commodity across the region, as reservoirs were damaged, and other water sources contaminated by ocean water, and decomposing bodies. Experts estimate that this could lead to the widespread occurrence of water borne diseases such as cholera, which could cause up to twice as many deaths as the direct impact of the tsunami. Thus, a primary task in the emergency relief was to provide clean water to the survivors.

This was carried out in a series of efforts. Firstly, medical workers have to locate water sources that are uncontaminated, and protect them from contamination by building cement walls, protective fencing and drainage systems. Next, the people have to be educated on the various water purification techniques. For example, chlorination, or the addition of water purification tablets.

In addition, potable water is transported to affected areas, to meet the short-term demand. Water purification systems have been set up at affected areas, to ensure a constant supply of clean water. For example, the Australian authorities has established a water purification system which can treat 20,000 litres of water in an hour.

There was also an acute shortage of food, as a result of the tsunami. Farmlands and rice paddies have been inundated with salty seawater, and it could be years before the soil can again sustain crops. An estimated 53% of all of the protein in the dietary intake of Indonesians come from fish. The destruction of the eco-system meant the lost of habitats and subsequent decrease in the number of fishes. Thus, the lost of the 2 main sources of food ensured its scarcity. However, due to spontaneous international relief aid, almost 12,500 tons of food was delivered to Banda Aceh, effectively alleviating the situation.

Counting Grain
Source: Care USA


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