A CHILMARK-BASED disaster relief charity have now got boots on the ground in Indonesia after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The disaster hit on September 28 devastating the town of Palu and surrounding areas and a recce team from Team Rubicon UK (TRUK) was mobilised after receiving a request for international assistance.

The recce team arrived in Palu on Sunday and have been providing support to the The National Disaster Mitigation Agent (BNPB) by flying drones to assess the damage in some of the remote villages.

The situation is being closely monitored by the team based at the charity's headquarters.

Tom McArthur, of TRUK, said: "The situation on the ground is obviously still quite desperate. There are 5,000 people missing."

He added: "The conditions are not ideal, communications have been a bit patchy. There is virtually no running water on the island so we are having to carry a lot from Palu.

"There have been aftershocks, there was a 5.2 quake this morning (Tuesday) which didn't cause much damage but it adds to the tension," said Tom.

"Because of our technical abilities with the drones and we offer capabilities the government don't have much of they are really happy to work with us."

Discussing the charity's work in Indonesia, he said: "They fly drones over remote areas and take big aerial pictures which they can match with satellite imagery from before and after and effectively access what needs doing. That is our role in country at the moment, supporting the BNBP. We our one of the few western NGOs permitted to operate.

"It is quite technical work. It is going to help with the rebuilding of the island and the community."

TRUK hope to send more people out to provide assistance with water purification and sanitation. The charity has specialist kit which it is hoping to provide clean water to the affected communities.

The volunteers out there are mostly ex-military and include army, navy and air force veterans.

The charity has previously been deployed to the Philippines where volunteers worked alongside Salisbury charity Serve On to provide training and vital repairs to schools.

A crowdfunding page has been set up to raise £20,000 for the relief mission. To donate go to crowdfunder.co.uk/operation-palu-earthquake-and-tsunami-relief