Indonesia: January 16, 2005


The government dropped its demand that foreign troops involved in relief operations in Aceh leave by March 26th. The demand was considered poor manners, but most countries, especially the United States, were not bothered. Its expensive for the foreign troops to operate all their equipment during the relief operations, and their commanders would like to get the troops out as soon as possible anyway. While the foreign governments will come up with the money to pay for fuel, field rations and other special gear needed for the troops during relief work, the wear and tear on much of the equipment, especially the helicopters, will have to be absorbed by the armed forces, and taken out of their regular budget. Aceh suffered over 150,000 dead, over a quarter of the population is without homes or work. The dozens of military helicopters contributed by the United States and other countries are invaluable in getting relief workers, and supplies, to coastal areas still cut off by washed out roads and smashed port facilities. Even many beaches are wrecked, making it difficult for amphibious boats to come ashore with supplies.




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