BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - Environmental campaigners Greenpeace cast aside their ecological priorities with the arrival of their flagship Rainbow Warrior on a mission to bring aid to stranded tsunami survivors in Indonesia.
The vessel docked in the devastated port of Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra island to load up with aid from the relief organization Medecins Sans Frontieres bound for the island's obliterated northwestern coastline.
Environmental campaigners Greenpeace cast aside their ecological priorities with the arrival of their flagship Rainbow Warrior on a mission to bring aid to stranded tsunami survivors in Indonesia. (AFP/Choo Youn-Kong)
"The Rainbow Warrior has docked in the east of Banda Aceh early today in calm waters," Erwin Van't Land, MSF spokesman, told AFP on Thursday.
He said a forward MSF team in the worst-hit town of Meulaboh, which took a direct hit from the tsunami after an enormous 9.0-magnitude earthquake less than 150 kilometers (93 miles) away.
Roads linking Meulaboh with Banda Aceh were swept away by the waves and aid has so far only reached the area on military helicopters and naval vessels.
Land said the Rainbow Warrior, which normally sees action protecting endangered wildlife and environments, would take urgently needed medicine, generators, food and sanitation to isolated communities.
"We hope to sail to Meulaboh as soon as possible to ferry the urgent supplies. It may take some 12 hours to reach the village," he said.
The MSF official said his advance team in Meulaboh reported there was a shortage of food and there were many injured victims.
"The needs of the victims are really big. It is a horrible disaster," he said.
"In order to save lives, a massive relief effort is needed. By using the Greenpeace ship to transport medical staff and supplies, we hope to reach people in remote areas that we would otherwise be unable to help," said David Curtis, MSF emergency coordinator in Jakarta.
The December 26 tsunami wreaked havoc on shorelines across the Indian Ocean, killing more than 146,000 people, two thirds of them in Indonesia.
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