EDMONDS – Dedek Marulitua has never met the family members he is collecting money and clothes for at his Edmonds business, but he still wants to help.
Marulitua, 41, was born and raised in Indonesia, where the recent tsunami and earthquake caused horrific damage and deaths now totaling an estimated 150,000 throughout the region. In response, he and other Milltown merchants set up a drop-off point at his store, Java Jungles, for money, clothes and canned goods to be sent oversees to all victims. Donations, he said, will be made through the American Red Cross and the Northwest Medical team.
On the first day the drop-off point was open, $600 was collected and Marulitua said he plans to donate as much as he can.
“Everyone my family knows is OK … there were no casualties. They were not affected by the tsunami but by the earthquake,” Marulitua said. “But it will be very hard for them to get back on their feet.”
He receives daily text messages on his cell phone from friends who have gone to Asia to assist the victims of the tragedy. Mostly, he said, the damage done where his family is includes roofs that have fallen off, other damage to buildings and roadways so torn that locals can’t leave their villages.
Other areas were not so lucky, he said.
“I’ve heard a lot of things that are mind boggling – it seems unreal,” Marulitua said. “Several nights ago, my friend told me he saw more dead bodies than the people who can carry them.”
Marulitua, who lives in Edmonds with his wife, Tracy, and three children ranging in age from five to 16 years old, said he would like to go to Asia to help, but he feels he can do more good if he stays here.
“I will be more helpful if I stay here and help with donations,” Marulitua said. “Right now, the urgent thing they need is money.”