The recent earthquake and tsunami in the Mentawai’s has had devestating effects to the local people in an area much loved by surfers around the world, but particularly those of us in Australia and New Zealand. Here’s a few ways you can help give back…
After the Indonesian Government’s request for SurfAid to lead a comprehensive assessment of the Mentawai, SurfAid is scaling up its assessment work. On Wednesday night a team of 19 – a combination of three SurfAid staff, eight KOGAMI staff (a respected Padang based NGO) and eight Mentawaian volunteers, headed to Sikakap to do rapid assessments. Four experienced Rapid Assessors from the ASEAN Secretariat arrived in Padang last night and are heading to Sikakap today to join the SurfAid assessment teams. And SurfAid Program Manager Asrial is heading to Sikakap to coordinate with local BPBD in Sikakap.
The surf charter boats Mangalui, Addiction and Barrenjoey, and resort owner John Ocean, are also carrying out assessments of various villages in the Mentawai so that the response can efficiently target the much-needed emergency supplies.
Most of you are surfers and many of you have experienced the magic of the Mentawais aboard MV Addiction. Everybody would have heard about the earthquake and tsunami over the past week from the media reports but once the last western surfer has been found safe and well the story seems to disappear from the news. Unfortunately the situation in a lot of the villages, some of them right on our favourite surf spots is till dire. The following are 2 first hand reports from surf charter boats that are checking the villages and delivering aid where they can.
First report from Scuzz on Southern Cross.
Thanks on wind report chris, very strong gust before, we just dropped anchor in safe place near sikakap. We picked up about 18 people from a wooden canoe who were in a bit of strife, they from Betuwonga, south end of Maccas bay, they said no deaths, but damage, silabu was pretty protected, no deaths or damage.
The south facing coasts along the bottom of north pagai really copped it.
Greenbush bay village was really in need of a hand, they are just stunned still, and although their wells are contaminated and there are flies and stink coming off the bloated corpes they wanted to stay in their village until missing people turn up. I guess to bury their dead too.
We did what we could there and I’ve asked Bd to head there, but they are being run by red cross and must follow that course of action.
There were 52 houses and a church and even 200 metres back it’s hard to see much of the old houses, roofs etc, it’s wiped clean.
Their closest hill is a long way away and from what I could see it would be hard going to climb thru the foliage to get there.
They said 142 dead, 50 missing and there were about 25 people we gave water, juice, biscuits and muesli bars and some clothes to.
Next village along is hard to see, its east of greenbush bay and down the bottom of a bay with a river running out. Its harder access to get into, no real sand beach unless you go way up the river.
This village is called mutu baru baru or something like that.
They had a hill nearby with uncontaminated water, but all buildings again completely wiped away. They said of their 307 population 180 are dead, the military had taken most bodies away, but more rot and no real toilet system. We gave what we could, but spirits higher in this village with kids smiling. One small girl had an infected arm with possible fracture. The military had taken people in need of care to sikakap, which is where most people are heading who have nothing left or injuries. With this weather setting in, it’s a good idea.
Have been stressing the importance of shitting on beach and not in village, boiling water, burying dead, cleaning cuts etc.
Sounds like the west coast of south pagai and especially south facing bays there are also badly smashed.
Reports vary depending on places, Maccas 3 waves, mutu 2, greenbush was so heavy it was hard to push for info.
Sounded like the quake went for about a minute, but some say much less and a couple said 8 minutes. Some said they couldn’t stand, some said it was too dark to see how many wAves, some say 7,8,9 and 10 metres. I estimate about 4, and found a blanket that high and marks on trees.
Don’t think the place has lifted, it’s looks so sometimes, but it’s more just stripped bare making it look risen.
Flotsam in water is less, but there’s still much danger there.
Rusty nails and broken glass around villages and wood hitting your legs unloading gear from speedboat are also thongs that have happened to us, plus a bent prop trying to get in.
Obviously water, and shelter are first needed and some cups to share the water gallons. Water filters would be great, shovels, pretty much everything is gone in the worst villages, including a lot of their coconut trees, ie income and what’s left has been their water up to now.
Barrenjoey anchored at Lances left. I went into Goibik (Bintang village) to take photos. Hopefully the Aid will see that this place has been flattened. There is nothing left. People were sitting on crumpled concrete slabs with their heads in their hands. People from Katiet (Lances Rights) were coming and there were tears, hugs, and wailing. They had lost kids, wives, fathers. The destruction was complete. Barrenjoey has already donated rice and supplies from Surfaid. Can we do more? Felt guilty surfing. Rounded up the passengers and asked if they would like to help. They were all for it. So we went into the beach at Bintang and helped them lift huge timber bearers out of the jungle that used to be the bridge. We manhandled the beams into place. Then laid the timbers and Mr Long went at it with the chainsaw. They had their bridge. Anything else? One more bridge, no problem. This one, we had to carry the bearers a lot further. Anyway, the locals were stoked. We helped them replace 2 bridges in 2 hours. All villages need tools. Everything has been washed away and is beneath rubble. The 2 tsunamis washed about 200-300m inland and took everything in their path. Any boats heading out need to take basic tools (hammers, large nails, saws). Tarpaulins, rope, blankets, drinking water, food. Medical supplies.From what I can see, the Bintang coast looks like it has plenty of food. although the stockpile i saw has to be distributed around 4 villages. They need to begin re-building. there are police and navy guys from Tua Pejat helping. everyone is scared of another tsunami. Barrenjoey is now in the Thunders/Sikakp area. We are in communication with Tom Plummer (Surfaid) who is on Huey. Our passengers are helping where they can with basic manpower. We have the speedboat at anyone in need’s disposal. Tom mentioned the Australian Government was donating money for some large cargo boats to take aid out to the Sikakap area. We will be using the Bynda to help distribute to the areas in need. I am in contact via Belinda/handphone and our Satphone is on. John
Addiction is currently out taking volunteers and aid supplies to the islands. Most of the other surf charter boats are doing the same thing. The boat operators are buying all of the supplies wherever they can and distributing them to these devestated villages who have lost everything. The charter boats want to keep this relief effort going but need outside support and that is where you come in. We need money, whatever you can afford because even a little makes a big difference to these people who have nothing. You know that bunch of smiling kids who surf next to you at Bintangs, well, we don’t even know if they are still alive because that village, just like Greenbush, Thunders and a lot of others was flattened.
If you have gotten a lot of goodtimes out of the Mentawais now is the time to put a little back. Those of you in Australia can make cheques (tax deductible) out to Lions Club Avalon Inc and send to:
Lions Club Avalon Inc
PO Box 67
Avalon Beach 2107.
Those of you who are non-surfing friends just take our word for it, write a cheque and send it in.
For those in other countries Addiction will receive donations by bank transfer or credit card and then pass them onto the charter boat association to keep the boats aid efforts running. Please email email@example.com for more information.