The Homecoming of the Swiss Rescue Team


The Swiss Rescue Team, who was deployed in the town of Padang on the island of Sumatra since Friday, 2 October, on a mission to search and rescue missing persons and provide medical care to survivors, terminated its operations on Monday evening. The people in charge of Switzerland’s humanitarian aid have decided to maintain a small team of experts on site in order to facilitate the transition from the phase of emergency relief to that of aid for reconstruction. Swiss Rescue searched through the rubble for survivors on eight sites, labouring under difficult climatic and operational conditions. Its members returned to Switzerland on Wednesday, 7 October.

Meanwhile, a team of experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) has conducted a mission in the region of Pariaman to assess the needs of the victims. Medical supplies, calculated to cover the needs of 10,000 persons for a 3-month period, have been handed over to the hospital in Pariaman.Furthermore, plastic tarpaulins as well as canisters for drinking water are currently being distributed on the basis of a list of beneficiaries prepared by the local authorities.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Switzerland, H.E. Mrs. Lucia H. Rustam, accompanied by some staff of the Indonesian Embassy in Bern, have joined the Swiss Development Cooperation and Swiss military in welcoming the arrival of the Swiss Rescue team at the Zürich’s airport on Wednesday, 7 October.
At the event, which was covered by several printed and electronic media in Switzerland, the Ambassador thanked particularly the Swiss Rescue Team for their tireless efforts in helping the quake victims in Padang, West Sumatera. The Swiss Rescue Team was the first international rescue team, which was sent just one day after the earthquake struck. The team has conducted countless emergency search and rescue missions, and provided invaluable medical treatment and care for the victims. With the support of the international rescue teams, the social and economic activities in Padang are expected to recover soon.
In her speech, Ambassador Rustam praised the Government of Switzerland for their invaluable support, solidarity and friendship towards Indonesia. Furthermore, she conveyed her strong commitment in supporting any international aid and contributions offered by the international community.
As the emergency phase is about to end, the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase will begin soon. Today, the quake victims in Padang are in need of onsite hospitals, medical supplies, shelters, as well as food, fuel and clean water. Any contributions, paid to both help ease the suffering and improve the regions of Padang, are most welcome.
The Indonesian Embassy in Bern, 7 October, 2009