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IDEP is responding to the Mentawai Earthquake, Tsunami and Javanese Volcano Tragedy 2010

Photography courtesy of AP & AFP News Media

IDEP is responding to the Mentawai Earthquake, Tsunami and Javanese Volcano Tragedy 2010

The Mentawai Islands off Western Sumatera is reeling from an earthquake and tsunami that struck over a 24-hour period. Early on Tuesday morning (26 October 2010), the quake measuring 7.7 on a Richter scale, struck at 21:42 local time, 240 kilometers from the town of Bengkulu, Sumatra. The quake triggered a 3 meter (10 feet) tsunami, which reportedly swept away 10 coastal villages. The tsunami penetrated 600 meters in-land, submerging dozens of houses. Casualties have been recorded as at least 272 dead and increasing, with over 400 people still reported as missing. Click here to see a news report video of the Mentawai Island disaster.

This morning (27 October 2010), Mount Merapi, an active volcano in Sleman, Java, erupted in hot ash and rocks which killed a total of 25 people. It is estimated that the volcano will continue to erupt, hopes are high that it will be a slow one, minimizing the lives at risk. See the latest news report from BBC.

Photography courtesy of National Geographic News – October 2010

What’s the situation on the ground now?

Photography courtesy of National Geographic
News & AFP Media

The situation is dire. International and local news are saying that over 113 have died, with hundreds more still missing. In the villages of South Pagai, where the tsunami washed in to 600 meters in-land, damage reports are still in progress. In the village of Betu Monga, 80% of the homes and buildings were destroyed. Out of 200 villagers inhabiting the village, only 40 has been found. The death toll will likely rise sharply in time with further discovery into the damage caused by this natural disaster.Post-disaster relief emergency workers, volunteers and villagers are searching for survivors but any type of aid has yet to come.

Photography courtesy of National Geographic
News & AFP Media

Response efforts are being hindered by the remote island’s location and the very bad weather last night, which made boat crossings pretty much impossible, while the villagers are still waiting for search and rescue support and aid supplies.
IDEP Foundation has a local partner on the ground in Mentawai who is coordinating with our staff on the ground in Padang. The Padang team is working on the challenging logistics to help get government doctors over to the islands while preparing whatever basic supplies we can gather together to bring with us to the islands. So far we have received some donated tents that will provide basic shelter for families in the bad weather conditions. The IDEP team is re-attempting to make a crossing today, and once there, distribute whatever supplies we can immediately transfer over. While doing this they will be conducting rapid assessments about what is most urgently needed and where.

Again, logistics and communications are extremely challenging for this response effort and unfortunately it will likely take substantial amount of time for a realistic response to happen and for international and local aid to reach the people of Mentawai. The sooner you can help, the sooner this will be possible.

What IDEP is doing?

IDEP is working with a local group called READY who were on site at the time of the disaster. They are doing search and rescue, rapid assessments of outlying areas, fulfilling as many immediate aid needs as possible and helping to link local and international efforts with officials and agencies.

IDEP has a history of working with partners, local government and communities in the Mentawai islands for disaster management capacity building over the past 4 years. Our team also coordinated some emergency response and aid delivery in nearby Padang’s large-scale earthquake disaster in 2009. Currently, IDEP and AIFDR (the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction), are running a wide scale public education campaign on building earthquake-safe houses for West Sumatra recovery. Visit the website of Rumah Aman Gempa for more information.

See some videos of our emergency response efforts in the area:

IDEP has vast experience in diasaster risk reduction, emergency response, and post-disaster community resilience. The films listed below illustrate some of the major disaster projects we have worked on, how we utilize donor contributions, and the impact of our programs throughout Indonesia.

How you can help

Please help us to help the people of Mentawai Islands in this terribly difficult time. Whatever help is provided will be immediately converted to assistance on the ground. We especially need help with basic supplies for shelter, food, water and fuel costs, which make aid delivery expensive for this relief effort. Thank you for your generous support in this urgent time of need.

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To learn more or to keep in touch with what IDEP is doing:

We will be keeping interested people updated on progress and developments on the ground through updates like these and posts on IDEP’s FaceBook page and Twitter.

For more information have a look at any of the following news links:

Thank you for helping to spread the word!

For any additional information, please contact us.

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