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Indonesia relief working well: Costello -

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SHANE MCLEOD: To Indonesia now, where the grim cleanup continues after last week's earthquake
there. Heavy rain overnight has again hampered the recovery efforts which are focusing now on
recovering bodies from the rubble more than rescuing anyone still trapped.

Among those surveying the recovery effort is Tim Costello from charity World Vision Australia. A
short time ago he told me he's struck by the way local officials have responded to the disaster.

TIM COSTELLO: I have been impressed with the determination and this is a city that has tsunami
practices. You know a million people practicing a tsunami coming again so they are really
disciplined and quite resilient but yeah, that is in the midst of a terrible earthquake.

SHANE MCLEOD: In terms of the conditions on the ground there - I know rain has been a problem over
the past few days - is that still causing problems?

TIM COSTELLO: Yeah, it is. It is just absolutely poured last night and those working, you know, at
Ambacang Hotel where so many, up to 100 died, that makes it impossible.

Even worse is the fact that rain has caused landslides and in the villages where the worst, the
epicentre of the earthquake, is no Komatsu (phonetic) heavy earthmoving equipment. People are just
using spades and four villages were just totally buried by landslides and that is an area where we
have been. We are working and the rain just intensifies every attempt to still rescue and keep
people from being exposed.

SHANE MCLEOD: You mentioned the efforts by local officials there. Are there priorities that the
outside world can help Padang with at this time?

TIM COSTELLO: Look, I have got to say the outside world including the Australian Government have
been really quick to act. There is 11 different international relief teams here along with the
local ones.

The race against the clock I think is over. It is now the fifth day and no one thinks anyone is
alive. I've watched ambulances coming but they weren't to save life, they were functioning as
hearses - taking away corpses.

What now is the real task is when the world's interest and media moves on. The fact that half a
million people have lost their homes and are needing water and sanitation, food, cooking utensils
and that is why we have brought in seven trucks of goods a couple of days ago and are distributing
that to say you are not forgotten.

SHANE MCLEOD: The earthmoving equipment has been on the site of collapsed buildings. It has been
going in there trying to clear up the rubble but there has been some, I guess, not criticism but
questions over whether it is appropriate to have heavy equipment in there fairly soon after the
earthquake itself. Have you seen that in operation? Do you have concerns about it?

TIM COSTELLO: Yeah, look it is a blunt instrument. They don't have the tools that we would choose
to have um, but they have raced what they have from Medan, down by road and I wouldn't be critical.
They have done what they could do against a race against the clock in a country that is, you know,
a developing country and poor. It is not how we would do it but they have done what they could with
tools at their disposal.

SHANE MCLEOD: How big a concern is disease and public health in the aftermath?

TIM COSTELLO: Oh look it is always the concern. The sanitation is the issue. Many of the hotels
including the one I am in, well, you don't get electricity and it has been raining all night and
they have sewerage mixed up with the, when you turn on the tap.

So this is the big issue which is why we have been distributing thousands of 10-litre bottles with
clean water and explaining how the WASH, as we call it, the acronym of wash water and sanitation
measures particularly with children are fundamentally important.

SHANE MCLEOD: In the aftermath of disasters like this, you often get a convergence of aid groups
and relief officials - everyone trying to help, everyone trying to do their best. Coordinating
those different groups, is that being managed effectively in Padang?

TIM COSTELLO: Yeah it is. The United Nations is always the coordinator. In a tsunami of course, so
many Australians both personally and little domestic NGOs jumped on planes and it became very
labyrinthal and confusing but the NGOs that are here collaborate magnificently under the UNs
leadership so you begin a day with the UN convening whose where, who is doing what, what specialist
skills are they bringing and that has all been happening.

SHANE MCLEOD: Given the scale of disasters we have seen across the Asia Pacific region just in the
last week or so, is there a danger that aid agencies are going to finish up overstretched in these
situations?

TIM COSTELLO: Yes. The truth is the last weeks for us at World Vision and other NGOs, it is like
being in the ring with Mike Tyson. Every time you look away, there is another blow and we have been
very deeply stretched and that is why we are appealing to our supporters to give generously - not
to be confused and say it is all too much. I won't give at all.

The truth is it is also shifting us from our development work where we go into an area for 15 years
telling the community we will be leaving, we are lifting you to sustainability - from shifting from
being development agencies to more and more just relief, reactive agencies and long-term proactive
measures, we've got to focus on.

SHANE MCLEOD: Tim Costello from World Vision speaking to me from Padang this morning.