Malaysians form the biggest foreign team

  • Nation
  • Monday, 03 Jan 2005

BANDA ACEH: They came looking for survivors, but all they found were corpses. 

A Malaysian rescue team yesterday embarked on one of the hardest tasks for relief workers – pulling out rotting, bloated bodies from the debris of Dec 26's quake and tsunami disaster. 

“This is critical,'' team leader Wan Razali said, as his team slipped three layers of latex gloves, masks and disposable surgical gowns over their camouflage uniforms before removing the corpses. 

“If these bodies are left around any longer they will create disease and bring harm to the people. So we're doing our best,'' he said. 

The 44-person Malaysian team is the largest foreign rescue force on the ground in Aceh province, one of the worst-hit areas in Sumatra.  

Yesterday, 1,000 bodies were found in this town alone, mostly pulled from a river that runs through the provincial city, military spokesman Ahmad Yani Basuki said. 

The Malaysian team worked alongside Singaporeans, Chinese, Taiwanese and Mexicans – part of the huge international effort to bring aid to the area. 

Lamsar Sihatupar, the head of a 60-person Indonesian search and rescue team said: “It's a huge disaster. We don't have enough people to cope.'' – AP  

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