Ian Woolverton of the Australian Red Cross, in Bali
The Australian Red Cross (ARC) has donated three fully equipped ambulances to Indonesian Red Cross to mark the six-month anniversary of the Bali bombings.
The handover on 12 April by Martine Letts, ARC Secretary General and Vice Chairman Brian Ward took place at the Denpasar branch of Indonesian Red Cross whose volunteers, many in their late teens and early twenties, played a major role in assisting people in the immediate aftermath of the Bali bombings.
The attack in the popular Kuta beach district claimed the lives of over 200 people, including 89 Australians.
Donations from the Australian Red Cross Bali Appeal have funded the ambulances. The Appeal, launched four days after the tragedy, has so far raised over 14.3 million Australian dollars to assist Australians and the people of Bali affected by the bombings.
The donation of the ambulances recognises the enormous contribution made by Indonesian Red Cross staff and volunteers who assisted in the grisly aftermath that followed the bombings.
Volunteers like 23-year-old Putu Suryawan from Denpasar, who worked continuously for 24 hours at the scene, administering first aid to the injured but also performing the gruesome task of collecting body parts.
“I remember hearing the bomb blast and then turning on my radio to find more information,” Putu says. “Within 30 minutes I was working at the bombsite. I was scared and very nervous. I never thought that this could happen in Bali,”
Putu remembers one woman trapped in a toilet, who he helped rescue. She was pinned under fallen debris, badly injured and in shock when Putu found her.
‘It was hard to believe she was still alive. She had almost suffocated from smoke inhalation so I gave her oxygen. It felt good to have helped though it was sad, very sad to see someone in such a bad way.”
Putu is grateful to the Australian Red Cross for the three ambulances. He is confident they will help the Red Cross meet the needs of vulnerable groups in the community, including women, the elderly and children.
Each ambulance can carry two patients and will be based at one of three branches of the local Red Cross Society. The Australian Red Cross has also funded the training of Indonesian Red Cross volunteers, like Putu, to respond in times of medical emergency. By the end of May, 60 staff and volunteers at Red Cross branches in Denpasar, Badung and Buleleng will have completed five weeks medical training and gained accreditation as Medical First Responders equipping them with the skills to respond to disaster. Medical First Responders will also man the three new ambulances.
The Australian Red Cross has allocated 3.6 million dollars to long-term programmes to strengthen the capacity of the Indonesian Red Cross in Bali to respond to disaster. These include an upgrade of blood bank facilities around the island and at Sanglar hospital, where hundreds of victims of the bombing were treated.
Funds from Australian Red Cross will also help establish a long-term tuberculosis-screening program to control TB in Bali.
Just over 8 million dollars has been spent or allocated in Australia, the majority of which has been used to cover the needs of Australian victims and their families. Four key domestic programmes of support have been implemented and 459 people have been assisted.
In addition, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service has received $328,300 to conduct research into the development of ‘Spray-on Skin’ for burns patients such as those affected by the Bali bombing.
The Royal Darwin Hospital has received approval for $185,000 to assist in disaster preparedness including the purchase of a patient simulator for training, in recognition of the unique role played by the hospital in assisting the victims of the Bali tragedy.
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Australian Red Cross
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