International Christian Relief (ICR) In Action
16 Jan 2005 - Initial Call  
30 Jan 2005 - 1st ICR Medical Relief Team To Indonesia
05 Feb 2005 - Report From Nias
06 Feb 2005 - ICR In Action
28 Feb 2005 - Report from Team 2 - ICR-Pelkesi Tsunami Relief In Nias Island                                            Home Page

Initial Call
Two medical teams are in need for medical and relief work in Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia.

Thank God for the exceptional generosity of donors from the churches and organizations connected with the Singapore Council of Christian Churches (SCCC), the Singapore Christian Evangelistic League (SCEL), the BPWS Singapore and other B-P and non B-P Churches in fraternal fellowship. The ICR Singapore Office has collected nearly S$150,000/= for the relief work.

Two teams of medical relief workers are needed to leave in one to two weeks from now. Each medical team will comprise the following:
      -  2 medical doctors,
      -  2 nurses, and
      -  2 counsellors.
We hope to send in more than two teams in the following weeks and months, covering India as well.

One of the first two teams will be going to Sri Lanka and the other to Indonesia.

In Sri Lanka, the team will be operating along the South East coast. The team will move in a van and serve the twenty relief centers along the coast. The work is under the supervision of the Surgeon General of the region, Dr Bhavan. The safety is ensured by police escorts sent by the Chief Police Inspector of the region.  YMCA is coordinating the work. Each team will leave on Friday evening and operating for ten days before return.

In Indonesia, the team will be partnering Indonesian doctors and missionary doctors from Bethesda Hospital, West Kalimantan. The team, with the co-operation of the Indonesia CCC in West Kalimantan, East Java, Jakarta and Medan, will be serving Nias, an island off the west coast of Sumatra that was also hard hit by the Tsunami.  Many of the people of this island are Christians. They were worshipping in their churches on Sunday morning, December 26, 2004 when the Tsunami hit. A number of these churches were built along the coast and a number of entire congregations were swept away. We note that the Indonesian Government is stopping relief workers from entering Aceh region because of threat of insurgencies by rebels.

Volunteers for the Medical Teams please contact Dr Lee Soon Tai immediately. Tel : 96624569(H/P) 67324375(Office) Fax: 67341036 email:

Submitted jointly by :
- Dr Lee Soon Tai, President SCCC, and
- Rev K C Quek, Chairman, ICR Singapore
16th January 2005
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1st ICR Medical Relief Team To Indonesia- 30 Jan 2005
The first Medical Relief Team organised in Singapore under International Christian Relief (ICR) has been serving in Nias Island off the West Coast of Sumatra, Indonesia below Aceh, the epicentre of the 26th December 2004 great earthquake and tsunami of the Indian Ocean. The team of 13, led by Dr Lee Soon Tai and comprising eight members from Singapore and five from within Indonesia, are due to complete their medical and relief work tomorrow, January 31, fly back to Medan and return to Singapore the next day. The other Singapore members of this first Medical Team are: Mrs Lee Dr Kek Lee Phin, OBGYN), Dr Chan Shaw Yan (Anaesthetist), Dr Chwan Chai (GP), Mr Aaron Wang Jit Beng (Nursing Officer), Mr Syddal Wee and Miss Yap Foon Lyn (Counsellors from Zion BPC). 32 boxes of medical and surgical supplies were brought from Singapore for used in Nias.

2nd Medical Team to leave on 31st Jan 2005
The second Medical and Relief Team, due to leave Singapore by a donated chartered flight on 31st January to continue the work of mercy in Nias and serve there until February 6, is led by Dr Koh Poh Kian (Paediatrician) and Dr Chua Choon Lan (Surgeon), with a total of about 20 members including Dr Sally Wong (Anaesthetist), Prof Lee Hin Peng (Epidemiologist), Staff Nurses Esther, Linda Goh and others from St Gabriel, and Chin Yoke Mun (trained counsellor).

Over 2,200kg of packed-in medical and surgical supplies donated by the Singapore Red Cross Society go with the chartered flight for use in Nias. All members of both future medical and relief teams to Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka are self-paying. The total of $160,000 relief funds collected by ICR Singapore will therefore be used completely in the relief operations.

Continuing prayers are requested for the physical and spiritual welfare of the tsunami refugees and for the safety of all the sacrificial, volunteer members of the teams.

Dr Lee Soon Tai
Rev Dr K C Quek
30 Jan 2005 [Back to Top]
Report From Nias - 5 Feb 2005
Thank you all for praying and giving. The 9-member (8 Singaporeans and 1 Indonesian) Team 1 returned safely from Nias. The 20-member Team 2 will touch down in Changi International Airport, Singapore if you are reading this report on Sunday, 6th February 2005.

On 25th Junuary till 1st February 2005, Team 1 brought in 32 boxes of medical and surgical supplies, 4 boxes of stationery materials (for children) and your love to share with the needy and sick in Nias. Team 2 had 36 boxes of medical and surgical supplies en-route to Nias.

Dr Mendofa received us at the Binaka Airport and drove us to the hospital. Refreshments were served where all senior medical staff (6 doctors), nursing directors and hospital administrators welcomes us. On arrival at Gunong Sitoli Hospital, a baby was stuck at the womb because his shoulder was jammed at the pelvis. Our obstetrician scrubbed immediately and joined in the caesarean section with the general practitioner, Dr Mehendruri who was responsible for all OBGY cases in the hospital.

I was brought to see the Murbati, the governor to send your greetings from Singapore while Team 1 settled in the guest-house at the Gunong Sitoli Hospital. Team 1 split into two teams with A-team consisting two doctors, one nurse and one counsellor to run a clinic located in the southern tip of Nias. B-team with three specialists, one nurse and one counsellor were located in the only 100 bedded-government hospital on the island to treat the patients with surgery. The external fixators came in the time of need to treat one case of fracture with complication in a tsunami victim. The SurAid International doctors Dr Derek Allen (a general practitioner from New Zealand) and Dr Sohrab Gollogly (orthopaedic surgeon from California, USA) joined us in surgery and seeing patients at the Hospital. Four cases at the normal frequency of one a day, were treated in the single operating theatre in the hospital. More than five hundred cases were treated at the clinic at Telok Dalam. The larger Team 2 is still serving at Sirombu / Mandrehe, the central region on the west coast of Nias. Our counselors also visited and distributed your gift of books, crayons, colour pencils and soap bubbles to an orphanage with 130 children including 4 new ones from the recent tsunami.

Please continue to pray for restoration of the infrastructures in the disaster stricken west coast of Nias. Long term commitment is necessary to sustain the initial efforts to share your love in Nias. The third and fourth teams are on standby until further decision after the Lunar New Year period. Pray for discernment for the teams. A full report with pictures of the Relief and Rehabilitation Mission will be published in the coming issue of Far Eastern Beacon.

Dr Lee Soon Tai
5 Jan 2005 [Back to Top]
ICR In Action

International Christian Relief, the relief agency of International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC), with the support of many Bible believing churches in Singapore and other parts of the world managed to share our compassion and love in the relief and rehabilitation of Indonesia, India, and Sri Lanka.

We are reporting on the relief and rehabilitation work in Nias where two medical teams were stationed over a period of two weeks. The first team of three specialists and two general practitioners were in Nias from 26th January till 31st January 2005. The second team of five specialists and a dental surgeon were in Nias from 31st till 6th February 2005. Two more teams were on standby until further notice after the Lunar New Year period.

ICR chose Nias in response to a call for assistance by Dr Nefos Daeli, Ex-Director of PELKESI (Association of Christian Hospitals and Health Workers). Dr Nefos Daeli was born in Nias and he flew in soon after the earthquake and tsunami disaster that struck Nias, on the west coast of Sumatra on 26th December 2004. By 7th January 2005, no external aid had reached Nias. The Surf Aid International team of three barges was the first to bring in medical and relief supply to Nias and their activities were followed closely as reported in their website.

Nias is the largest of the 130 islands on the west coast of Sumatra, below Aceh nearest to the epicentre of the Indian Ocean earthquake. The total area of 5,625 km2 was 13 times the size of Singapore. Nias had more than 90% "Christians" divided equally between the Protest-ants and Roman Catholics The residents of the island were mainly Bataks, Malays and Chinese. Our accompany-ing nurse and interpreter from Gunung Sitoli Hospital was the thirteenth generation of Chinese in Nias.

Team 1 was warmly met at the Binaka Airport by Dr Mendofa, the 7th Director of the Gunung Sitoli Hospital which was built in the 1960s. Dr Medofa had sent an earlier SMS appeal to us requesting for external fixators (surgical supplies to treat fractures), antibiotics and pain-killers. We were brought to meet the senior staff members of the Hospital when the first surgery for the team was in progress with Dr Kek Lee Phin assisting Dr Mehendruri, a general practitioner in the Lower Segment Caesarean Section to deliver an obstructed labour case. A football sized ovarian cyst of two weeks old was gangrenous when removed by surgery on the second day at the Gunung Sitoli Hospital.

For the third and fourth days at the Gunong Sitoli Hospital, orthopaedic cases were operated on. In particular, one case of fracture femur had a new external fixator applied because the old fixator was not effective. The large number of surgical and medical supplies brought in from Singapore came in handy for such operations. Dr Sohrab from Monterey, California and Derek Allen from New Zealand were doctors from SurfAid International to join us in the surgery and consultation of cases.

Meanwhile, two general practitioners, Dr Semuels (from Tebas, Kalimantan) and Dr Chai Chwan (Singapore) took a four-hour journey down to Teluk Dalam, the southern tip of Nias to set up a mobile clinic. Retired nursing officer, Elder Aaron Wang Jit Beng of Sharon Bible-Presbyterian Church had to revive his nursing skills in the Telok Dalam Clinic. Syddal Wee from Zion Bible-Presbyterian Church came in handy as a dispenser.

For two and the half days, they had more than 500 consultations that exhausted all their medical supplies.

Miss Yap Foon Lin was the official scribe of the trip and she logged the activities of the Team during the stay in Nias. We visited an orphanage,Tomorrow's Hope with 130 children, including five new orphans from the tsunami disaster. Miss Yap left her four boxes of stationery with the orphanage. We also visited the different Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps at Telok Dalam and Sirombu/Mandrehe regions to discuss the relief work and placement of the second medical team from Singapore. The roads to these camps were long and arduous. The vehicle had to go through the floodwaters when it rained. Some relief aid had to come by lorries and in the more inaccessible regions, helicopter had to fly in the supplies.

Near the disaster sites, tents were erected to house these IDPs. By the time we visited the camps, many of the IDPs had found alternative housing with relatives inland or had run up the mountains. Some had started rebuilding the simple wooden homes where there were remaining wooden planks. It was interesting to note that a Chinese Temple, a Church and a Mosque in the central market at Sirombu were left intact while the surrounding buildings were destroyed. These buildings for worship were made of cement and bricks in contrast to the rest of the buildings made of thin wooden planks for walls and with zinc or atap (leaves from coconut tree) for roofs.

From Tomorrow's Hope, we found that it cost about SIN$1.00 a day to keep an orphan in the home as well as attending school. SIN$20 were estimated to be sufficient for each IDP.

After one week of running the mobile clinic, operating in the hospital and visiting various IDP camps and the disaster sites, the hospital threw a dinner party with a roasted hog for our farewell dinner. The roasted hog is the item on the menu only for honoured guests. We were touched by their hospitality and warmth. As we left for Medan the next morning, the Bupati (governor) of Nias was at the Binaka Airport to thank the Singapore teams for their relief and rehabilitation efforts.

A total of over $162,000 in Singapore Dollars have been received for such tsunami relief operations simultaneously being carried out also in Sri Lanka and India. Relief reports from the latter disaster areas as well as from the second Medical Team to Nias will follow.

Dr Lee Soon Tai,
President Singapore Council of Christian Churches (SCCC), Chairman, ICCC/FECCC Medical Commissions and
Rev Dr Quek Kiok Chiang, PBM
Vice-Chairman, ICCC Commission on Christian Relief and Chairman, ICR Singapore
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This 19-member second medical team ministered to over 600 patients and six surgeries were done in the Sitoli Hospital during their one week of ministry in Nias from 30th January to 6th February 2005 (8 days). The team comprised as many as five Medical Doctors (Drs Koh Poh Kian, Chua Choon Lan, Sally Wong, Seow Lay Tin, Chew Sook Leung), Dental Surgeon (Dr Lewis Lee), seven Nurses, 2 Counsellors, Mr Robert Liew and his workers.

All airfares, hotel bills and vaccines were donated by members of the team and other well-wishers. A full report on this second medical team to Nias with supporting photos will be published in the next issue of Far Eastern Beacon, together with reports from the relief activities being simultaneously carried out now in Sri Lanka and India.
May the Lord richly bless all concerned for their labour of love and sacrificial giving in the relief of the present tsunami disaster.

Report from Team 2 - ICR-Pelkesi Tsunami Relief In Nias Island
Sumatra, Indonesia 30th January - 6th February 2005
20-Member Team - Leader : Dr Koh Poh Kian
5 medical doctors plus 1 dental surgeon, 8 nurses, 3 pastor-counsellors, 3 general support helpers
Doctors - Koh P K, Chua C L, Chew S L, Seow L T, Sally Wong, Lewis Lee
Nurses - Esther Tan, Linda Ho, Elizabeth Leong, Joy Sim, G H, Lim H L, Gn W T, Khor S K
Pastor/Counsellors - Doris Chow, Chin Yoke Mun, Chia Yee Xian
General Support Helpers - Robert Liu, William Ow, Siew S K
Report of Relief Work
Visit to the Medan IDP Camp (internally displaced persons) - counseling, prayer and practical help, including financial assistance
Visit to Gunungsitoli Orphanage - financial assistance provided
Medical relief to tsunami area around Sirombu, Nas: Lasarabagawu Poskos, Sirombu Poskos and Tobimbogi village-church
Surgical work, paediatric/medical ward-rounds and pastoral care in Gunungsitoli Hospital
8 surgical operations were carried out by team general surgeon and oral surgeon with the help of team anaesthetists who also provided anaesthesia for emergency Caesarean section and resuscitation for the newborn baby.

A total of 607 patients treated - of these, 161 were children and 82 came for dental treatment.
The team left behind a large quantity of medicine and relief supplies at the Sirombu Poskos and Gunungsitoli Hospital. Most of these medical and surgical supplies were donated by International Christian Relief (ICR) Singapore, the Singapore Red Cross, Rodamas (through Mucki Tan) and donations given to the team.
The second team to NIAS Island under the ICR - Pelkesi umbrella took place from 30th January 2005 to 6th February 2005. A team of 20 members including 5 doctors, one oral surgeon, 8 nurses, 3 pastor-counsellers and 3 general support helpers was formed within 2 weeks. The team brought along donated medical supplies from Singapore Red Cross as well as supplies ordered through our friends in Medan.
Team 2 comprised Drs Koh Poh Kian (Paediatrician and Team Leader), Dr Chua Choon Lan ( Surgeon) Drs Sally Wong,Chew Sook Leung,Seow Lay Tin (Anaesthetists) ,Dr Lewis Lee (Oral Surgeon), Nurses Esther Tan, Linda Ho, Elizabeth Leong, GH Lim, Joy Sim, Lim HL, Gn WT, Khor SK, Pastors/Counsellers Doris Chow, Chia Yee Xian, Chin Yoke Mun and General Support Workers Robert Liu, William Ow and Siew SK.

The team packed several boxes of medicines and surgical and medical supplies and left Singapore for Medan on Garuda Airline on 30th January 2005.

We stayed in Polonia Hotel near the airport and met up with Dr Sofian, a Christian doctor who helped with our local arrangements and 3 local pastors who were translators for our group. The team visited the Medan IDP Camp (Internally Displaced People) offering counselling, prayers and practical and financial help.

We travelled the next day to Nias Island by chartered and commercial flights. We were picked up at the small airport at Nias by Dr Mendofa and a local pastor , Pastor Zebua, and brought to Gunong Sitoli General Hospital.

The accommodation was a very pleasant airconditioned ward newly furnished. On arrival we set to work right away by unpacking and sorting out the medical supplies.
A visit to an orphanage with some children orphaned by the tsunami was arranged that night. The children put up a very refreshing programme. Some financial assistance was given.
The surgical team had work to do almost immediately operating on a boy with Ruptured Appendix and Peritonitis. The boy had been suffering almost a week before the surgery and the team was amazed by the pus that literally shot out of the abdomen when Dr Chua did the incision.
The team carried out 8 surgeries including dental work.
The cases included appendicitis, thyroid tumour, fractured mandible and carcinoma of the breasts.
We also conducted a Paediatric and Medical ward round. Many of the patients had Gastroenteritis, Acute Bronchitis , Pneumonia and Tuberculosis. Some children had enlarged liver and spleens and were assumed to have malaria.
Many of the children were pale and undernourished.
The team divided into two on Day 2 with one team taking a long drive over the mountain roads to the western part of the island which suffered directly from the tsunami.
The team worked in two separate locations at the Poskos (Relief Centres) at Sirombu and Lasarabagawu joining the relief work there.Dental work was carried by Dr Lewis Lee who did a total of 82 cases over the trip.
The second half of the team also joined the relief effort at Sirombu the following day doing a very busy clinic at Lasarabagawu.
We stayed at the house of a local pastor for the nights.
We were invited to a late night service at the church at Tobimbogi and was very encouraged by the large turnout and singing of the congregation. Doris Chow gave the message. Yee Sian spoke and shared the next 2 nights at the same church.
The church members turned up in full force when we held a clinic at the church on the last day. Dr Sally Wong, Dr Seow Lay Tin had the help of Staff Nurses Esther Tan and Khor who worked as nurse practitioners. Dental work was carried out by Dr Lewis Lee.
On the last night Dr Lee carried out oral surgery at the front porch of the pastor's house on a little girl with a retention cyst.
A total of 607 patients were seen by the team over the trip.
The team left behind a large quantity of medicine and relief supplies before we returned to the hospital for a final day of surgery and follow up of the patients treated earlier. All the patients did well postoperatively .
We then flew to Medan and attended 2 church services in 2 groups. At Pastor David's church Dr Koh shared and Yee Sian preached and helped some victims of the tsunami who were housed by the church. Some financial aid was given to the victims who lost their families. Dr Chua Choon Lan also preached in Dr Sofian's church.
The team was much blessed during the trip and the Lord protected us from accidents and sickness. [Back to top]

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