Indonesia S.O.S.

Published on 13-11-2015

Photo credit Bjorn Vaughn

The capital city of Kalimantan (Borneo), Palangka Raya, in Indonesia, is in an adverse situation. Haze levels have exceeded safety limits because of the fires, making survival of every living organism extremely doubtful. Now,  Indonesia is considered one of the most polluted areas on our planet.

Although there was some relief due to recent rain fall, are still being engulfed by a thick layer of ash and dense haze. Millions of people are desperately seeking medical help. Babies and infants, breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women and the elderly are being moved to safety by agencies like Friends of the Earth Indonesia/WALHI. Also, many smaller organizations and volunteers have dedicated all their time and energy to bring relief to people.

These agencies are now working alongside the UN Human Rights Council, the Vatican, and the governments of other countries in order to find a solution. They focus particularly on how to encounter with fires that have been deliberately started by men, by international companies, which reportedly have found an economical way to "clear land".

But this is not the time to point fingers, because we may as well point fingers to ourselves if we use any of the palm oil or paper products produced by these companies.

Photo credit Bjorn Vaughn

This is the time to realize that what we see unfolding in front of our eyes is the world’s worst manmade environmental disaster since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Indonesia has already released 61 megatons of carbon dioxide since the fires started months ago. More than 2 million hectares of forest have been burned down to ashes, part of which was home to the last surviving orangutans in the wild. Millions of people are ill and suffering in many ways. 

According to Emmanuela Dewi Shinta, a Dayak woman, activist and film maker, there is a huge need of N95 masks that many people simply cannot afford to buy (the government doesn’t provide these), medicines and oxygen for the millions of people affected by respiratory illnesses.

Emmanuela Dewi Shinta is also trying to contact doctors and health professionals in order to go to villages and take care of the people. What is also becoming increasingly important is to help get food out to poor communities as these people have lost their livelihood due to fires. Their crops are totally destroyed and there is neither food nor water or the means to purchase any goods. Vulnerable groups, mainly elderly and children rely exclusively on external assistance.

 

Photo credit Bjorn Vaughn

A disaster of this magnitude can only be encountered collectively. Let us raise awareness to save our fellowmen. Helping is a wonderful act that connects us to the very source of Existence.

We have been keeping in touch with OuTrop (Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project), who are there on the ground, trying to save the orangutans and put out the fires closing in on their research camp. They urgently need financial aid to keep fighting the fires and getting the animals to safety. Or shall we say somewhere safer as the reach of the haze is enormous. They say: "The only way to tackle this disaster is with huge manpower on the ground, supported by intensive and sustained aerial water-bombing, but for this we need help from outside of Indonesia." 

Please help by donating here: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/forestfires

We are also working closely with a group of people led by David Metcalf who has set up a crowd funding site through which we have been able to send out masks and medical supplies for the people. We are working with Earth Hour who are there on the ground distributing the supplies that we are able to send out. 

Please help us keep sending help by donating here: https://www.gofundme.com/kalimantansmoke