Charity Aid Group Reaches Tsunami Victims

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PADANG, Indonesia -- More than a week after a deadly tsunami struck the remote Indonesian Mentawai islands, stormy weather continues to keep rescuers from reaching the country's smaller islands.

Relief organizations have also struggled to reach the affected areas, however, two Operation Blessing International teams have been successful in reaching their destinations. Just a few days after the tsunami wave hit the islands, two Operation Blessing teams managed to take a 14-hour boat ride through rough seas to reach the islands. They distributed food, clothes, medicines and toiletries among the scores of survivors.

The Operation Blessing doctors have also provided medical care to those injured by the tsunami. The Mentawai Health Agency said they are grateful for the help, but also added more help is needed because there are more patients than doctors.

Thousands more bags of relief goods are on their way to the islands. Operation Blessing workers said they will remain in the area for quite awhile in order to help survivors recover from the tragedy.

Poor weather conditions, a lack of manpower and transportation are the problems hindering relief operations.

There are not enough boats or ships available to bring the relief goods to the tsunami victims. Right now, the only watercraft available is not capable of sailing through the stormy weather.

Government and private organizations continue to load navy ships with supplies in order to be able to bring as much help to the victims as they possibly can -- especially to the islands that have not been reached by rescue parties.

The quake-triggered tsunami devastated at least seven villages in the Mentawai Islands, off the coast of Sumatra. Hundreds of houses were swept away and at least 450 people dead with more than 200 still missing. More than 4,000 people have been left homeless and helpless. 

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Lucille Talusan

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