Team Rubicon UK
Jan 8 · 3 min read
Our team –in t-shirts of our partner ACT– eating in Sumur. 📷 Lewis Inman

Dropping everything to fly halfway around the world to help people struggling through a disaster’s aftermath is probably why most of our Greyshirts decide to join Team Rubicon.

But conditions in a disaster zone aren’t for everyone, and will perhaps remind a lot of our awesome volunteers of situations they’ve experienced in their military or first responder careers.

Take for example the living conditions our team are experiencing on Operation Sunda Strait, our response to the deadly tsunami caused by the eruption of Anak Krakatau on 22 December 2018.


Anak Krakatau as seen from Sumur local fish market, which was heavily damaged by the December tsunami. 📷Lewis Inman

As most of the UK prepared for Christmas with loved ones, a five person response team began packing kit bags and emergency equipment.

Pre-deployment festive food for the team was a steak pie and chips — a far cry from turkey and all the trimmings with family.

Conditions at ‘base camp’ are cramped. 📷Lewis Inman

Flying out on Christmas Day, the team was soon on the ground with in-country partner ACT for Humanity, conducting needs assessments, drone operations, and water purification tasks.

Fully prepared to camp out in the middle of rainy season, our dedicated Greyshirts were fortunate enough to locate a secure and basic apartment in Sumur, but conditions are a far cry from the comforts of home.

It may be small, but you can fry an 🍳. 📷Lewis Inman

With five people sleeping in one small room, and no air conditioning, temperatures remained sweaty through the night.

Without chairs or desks, piles of boxes become the place for comms. 📷Lewis Inman

Cooking and washing facilities were basic, but nothing our resilient international operators can’t handle.

Having mains power to charge electronic devices can be a rarity on operations, but it hasn’t been much of a problem for the team in Indonesia – bar the odd blackout.

Conditions at ‘base camp’ were cramped. 📷Lewis Inman.

New Year’s Eve didn’t pass without incident, though. In Paniis village — where we helped our partner NGO ACT establish a water purification system and train locals in its use– our team faced a tsunami alert in the middle of the night, prompting a rapid evacuation, ready to get to high ground as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, the tsunami alert proved to be a false alarm. 📷 Lewis Inman

Stepping into a disaster to help others requires grit and determination, Something all our Greyshirts have by the bucketload.

Photo: Lewis Inman.

Deploying on a disaster response operation isn’t for the faint hearted, but our teams thrive in these challenging situations and they are happy to forgo their home comforts knowing their hardships are nothing compared to those they are helping.


Team Rubicon UK is a disaster relief charity that uses mostly ex-military volunteers to provide life-saving aid to those who need it most. Want to join? Find our more here.

Have you got what it takes? Join us.

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Team Rubicon UK

Stories from the front line of disaster response, from Team Rubicon UK.

Team Rubicon UK

Written by

Because we can, we must.

Team Rubicon UK

Stories from the front line of disaster response, from Team Rubicon UK.

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