Indonesia Quake: Late to Bed, Early to Rise

Sumatra team

CRS’ emergency response team for the West Sumatra earthquake is already working as a well-oiled machine. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

Every morning around 7:30 a.m., CRS’ emergency response team in Padang, Indonesia, gathers around their one conference table. The team—which two weeks after the quake is now 25 strong—includes CRS Indonesia staff, CRS employees from around the world who have come in on temporary assignments, and newly rehired staff who assisted CRS with our tsunami response in Aceh.

The team meets in the living room of a house CRS rents—a house that now serves as the main office and guesthouse. The space is tight, and so are the relationships. Five years of emergency response and recovery work in Aceh have created strong bonds of friendship and trust among many of the members. These are staff members used to getting things done fast under suboptimal conditions—and on little sleep, whether crashing on the floor of a diocesan building right after the quake or now sharing a room with mattresses thrown on the floor.

Yenni Suryani, CRS Indonesia country team leader, leads the meeting. Each sector leader gives an update of activities planned and outstanding concerns that need to be addressed most urgently. At the top of the list today are:

– Finding two more houses to rent so the office won’t double as people’s temporary home; this is especially critical due to Indonesian cultural norms of unmarried men and women sleeping in separate quarters
– Renting more cars and finding good drivers to support longer field visits
– Determining if CRS’ transitional shelter response should provide materials, cash or a combination based on beneficiaries’ needs and availability of construction supplies—and if the decision is cash, figuring out how to handle the logistics with local banks and possible vouchers
– Informing staff that during the “emergency period” when everyone is working seven days a week and practically 24 hours a day, that they will receive two days off for every two weeks served; hopefully this critical period will shift to more regular working hours within the next few weeks
– Finishing and submitting two funding proposals today—guaranteed
– Providing logistical support to the team up north opening a field office in Simpang Empat
– Coordinating a management quality meeting, bringing finance, HR, administrative, procurement and IT staff together to determine the most pressing tasks and plans of action
– Welcoming an IT staff member from Medan as his services are needed immediately

I’m impressed with the efficiency of the updates and the comprehensive planning being considered and put in place. And I’m proud to be part of this team, even if only for a few days as I return to Nairobi today.

– Debbie DeVoe, CRS regional information officer, reporting from Padang, Indonesia

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2 Responses to “Indonesia Quake: Late to Bed, Early to Rise”

  1. Sumatra quake: a look inside the CRS team « Caritas Internationalis Says:

    […] blog first appeared on CRS Voices Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Change you can download: a billion in secret […]

  2. Maria Josephine Wijiastuti Says:

    Wow! I’m so proud to be one of the team…

    Thanks Debby! CRS, stay great!

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