Caption: Volunteers ready to tackle tough conditions in earthquake and tsunami hit Indonesia. Picture: Sihle Mlambo/IOL.

Johannesburg - A team of the Gift of the Givers search and rescue teams are set to depart for Indonesia on Wednesday as part of the non-profit organisations relief efforts in the earthquake and tsunami hit Indonesia.

The Indonesian government appealed for international assistance this week after a 7.5 earthquake hit the country, followed by a fierce Tsunami on the island of Sulawesi.

Nearly 1 400 people are now known to have died in the quake-tsunami while thousands more have been displaced as disaster struck the South East Asian country.

About 20 volunteers depart for Indonesia on Wednesday night.

Ahmed Bahm, the Gift of the Givers head of search and rescue, and the team leader for the relief team in Indonesia, said the team was raring to go. 

Video: Sihle Mlambo/IOL.

“We are taking 25 personnel immediately to Indonesia. Our team got ready in South Africa, the Gift of the Givers team, less than 24 hours (after the call). We are taking some search and rescue personnel, some medical teams and we taking some specialised search and rescue with equipment and some medical interventions," he said.

Another team will leave for Indonesia on Friday, he said.

He said once the team arrived in Indonesia, they would assess areas that needed urgent intervention and act accordingly.

“Once we arrive in Jakarta we will assess the situation and the areas that need urgent intervention and from there we will intervene in search and rescue, medical, humanitarian, food, shelter,” he said.

The relief team was in good spirits as they left the organisation's base in Bramley, Johannesburg, with some of the crew seen hugging and kissing loved ones goodbye.

Picture: Sihle Mlambo/IOL.

Briefing the team at the OR Tambo International Airport, Bahm called on the team to maintain the discipline at all times and urged volunteers to look after each other.

The Gift of the Givers said earlier this week that the deployment of their experienced teams in the heart of the disaster would yield information first hand.

* Cash contributions to assist the victims of the disaster can be deposited into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account No. 052278611, Branch Code 057525. 

Please send deposit slip to [email protected] for acknowledgement.

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