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Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Sunday, 4 October 2009 19:12 UK

Sumatra quake: Aid worker's diary II

Patrick Fuller of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies travels to an open-air clinic in Pariaman district, which was close to the epicentre of Wednesday's deadly quake in Indonesia.

Red Cross clinic
A mobile clinic helps people injured in the quake

Off to an 0530 start this morning, thanks to the heat and mosquitoes in my airless room.

It was a slightly fretful night as I was conscious of staying on the second floor of a large concrete structure, perhaps not the best option given the continued aftershocks.

I wanted to visit one of the health posts set up in Pariaman district, which was at the epicentre of the quake.

The road was choked with a bizarre array of organisations wanting to do good, from a squad of teenagers on mopeds with Dynasty Computers delivering boxes of noodles to the homeless, to members of the Singapore armed forces and the Indonesian 4x4 club.

Most people here live along the road and house after house had collapsed. We came across Hans Polak from the Swiss Red Cross, who is the team leader for Swiss Rescue, a 125-member team who flew in with 18 search and rescue dogs.

Hans sees shelter as the main need for the recovery programme. He had just visited a village in the area where every one of the 168 houses had collapsed but remarkably only 4 people had died.

But 80% of their wells had been destroyed, so providing clean water is a priority need that the Red Cross will be addressing.

It's hard to find any food shops open so we have lunch at a communal kitchen set up by the local authorities outside the local government office.

It is strictly no frills. Sitting cross-legged eating cold rice with a spicy sardine gravy with my right hand proves quite challenging.

'Amazing escape'

Finally, we arrived at our destination, a mobile clinic set up by a doctor and eight nurses who worked at the Indonesian Red Cross hospital in Bogor in Western Java. The clinic was operating out of an open shelter next to a semi-collapsed house.

Patrick Fuller of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Patrick is helping set up a mobile kitchen for survivors

Dr Arfan and his team had been seeing an average of 50 patients a day, about 20% had injuries stemming from the earthquake.

Nur Asmi was lying on the makeshift examination bed, smiling at me while a nurse squeezed a massive blood clot from a huge gash in her head.

Having had her wound stitched up she calmly hopped on her bike and cycled home.

She had been cooking the family supper when the earthquake brought her roof down. A beam struck her just before she managed to escape. Amazing, that she and her five children survived.

The roof was sitting awkwardly on the ground concealing the rubble of the house underneath.

Like many of the children in these villages her kids had laid a small branch across the road to slow the traffic.

They stand in the road holding out cardboard boxes with a scrawled message saying "we are hungry" written on it.

No-one is actually going hungry, but the earthquake has disrupted food supplies arriving into local markets and people are making the most of the passing well-wishers, who drive through dispensing bottled water, biscuits and dried noodles.

Tomorrow we are setting up a mobile kitchen in the area, just so that people can manage during these difficult days.

Aid worker's diary: Day One



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