July 20, 2006

Java tsunami refugees need clothes, baby food, homes

PANGANDARAN, Indonesia (Reuters) - Clothes, infant food and
permanent shelters are among the most pressing needs for
refugees in a camp in the hills above this tsunami-hit
Indonesian beach town, survivors said.

Sanitation is also an issue since the tents on a football
field above Pangandaran town have no field toilets yet,
although there are medical supplies and simple meals of instant
noodles or rice.

A string of camps dotted around the hills above the beach
resort are now home to thousands who lost their houses or are
simply too frightened to go back to low-lying land after
Monday's tsunami that killed 574.

"It is difficult to sleep, hot in the day and cold at
night," said 20-year-old Roffi, whose bamboo house was washed
away by the huge waves that turned the beach front into rubble.
She shares a green military tent with scores of others, ranging
from a three-week-old baby to people in their 70's.

One elderly woman at the camp said she was scared every
time she heard a plane or one of the bright orange search and
rescue helicopters overhead since it reminded her of the roar
of the tsunami.

Waar Soewardi, a Red Cross official, said there were 4,000
people in the camps around this area.

The meager possessions salvaged by the refugees after the
tsunami are spread on the floors of the tents, separated from
the ground only by rattan mats in most cases.

One elderly woman said she needed underwear. Another
refugee called for more bottled drinking water and tents.

Gito, a 26-year-old volunteer worker, said the very young
and old were suffering most, with the former in need of baby
food. He thought the refugees may have to stay in the camp for
at least a month.

Yanti, another 26-year-old, who had lost her house on the
beach and now sits listlessly in the tent, had an obvious

"Of course we need houses."