Scientology Volunteers of Australia help victims of Sumatra earthquake—Part I
Scientology Volunteer Ministers from Australia arrived in Indonesia the day after the September 30 earthquake left more than 1,000 dead and half a million homeless.
The Australian Scientology Volunteer Ministers who traveled to Padang, twenty-eight miles from the epicenter of the magnitude 7.9 earthquake, are no strangers to disaster. They are veterans of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2007 Yogyakarta tornado and the 2007 Java quake. But even they were challenged by the enormity of the devastation they encountered.
Here is an account of their first day:
In Padang, twenty-eight miles from the epicenter of the magnitude 7.9 earthquake, they started in Chinatown, left in shambles by the disaster. There, in a medical tent, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers showed the doctors and nurses how to provide Scientology assists and gave them copies of an instruction booklet. Assists are procedures developed by L. Ron Hubbard that provide relief by addressing the emotional and spiritual factors in stress, trauma, illness and injuries.
A nurse said, “So, you can give relief using no drugs and no medicine? This is really needed. We all need to know this!”
On to a Chinese temple serving as a shelter for those whose homes were destroyed. The volunteers met the head of the medical clinic who had relocated his operation to the temple’s basketball court when the earthquake destroyed his offices. He could not keep up with the flood of people who had come to the temple for help so the Volunteer Ministers went to work. They set up tables to provide Scientology assists and chairs where others could sit while they waited their turn.
As lines of people received assists and word of the physical and emotional relief spread, and the lines grew longer, the volunteers decided to train those waiting how to give assists to each other. Their mission accomplished at that location, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers took their leave and moved on to a hospital where they could give assistance.
As they drove on through the city, they saw the eerie capriciousness of the earthquake. A three-story building leaned precariously over its neighbor’s home. Another building looked untouched until they saw that one wall was missing entirely. One house stood with every room exposed to view, a snapshot of a family no longer there.
The first hospital they found was completely destroyed. The next, a private hospital, was still operating despite damage. There, on the steps, a woman holding a baby was crying uncontrollably—her brother was inside dying because she didn’t have the 125 thousand rupiah to buy what he needed from the blood bank. The Volunteer Ministers paid for the blood—$15 to save a life.
The volunteers moved into the wards and started giving Scientology assists to injured patients while others explained the procedure to the nurses and taught them how to give assists.
One man whose leg was completely numb received an assist. When it was over, not only was the feeling in his leg restored, but his huge smile attested to the fact that the pain that had wracked the rest of his body was gone as well.
Concrete had crushed another man’s leg, breaking it in dozens of places from the knee down to the foot. The doctors had inserted metal rods into his leg. Blood was seeping out into the freshly bandaged wounds and he was writhing in pain. By the time his assist was done he was calm and relaxed, and he smiled when he said, “I feel good…I feel good!”
Another man, whose entire body had been injured, was traumatized to the point of complete unresponsiveness—it appeared he could not hear or speak at all. The Scientology Volunteer Minister explained what she was doing with impromptu sign language and began the assist. At first he didn’t appear to notice anything, but gradually he began to respond and in the end he was smiling.
As Day One in Padang drew to a close, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers met a team from the Indonesian Red Cross who had booked an extra hotel room where a bucket served as shower at the end of a long, hot and dirty day they will never forget.