Tsunami in the Mentawai Islands: Donate to SurfAid

“I’m so sorry that I couldn’t save my wife and children as I panicked and didn’t know what to do” Borinte, Indonesian farmer.

The death toll from a tsunami that hit the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia has risen to at least 311. Rescue teams say hundreds are still missing, two days after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami in western Sumatra. Officials say there were faults with an early warning system designed to alert locals to the tsunami. Water swept as far as 600m inland on South Pagai island. The village of Sabeugungung has been completely wiped out, with 50 dead and 150 missing presumed dead. Sikakap hospital is overflowing with over 200 people seeking assistance.The first aerial images emerging from the Mentawai Islands showed bodies being collected from empty clearings where homes and buildings once stood before they were levelled by the power of the tsunami. Corpses were strewn along beaches and roads, said district chief Edison Salelo Baja. Rescue teams are now finally on the ground, but they have yet to reach the worst affected areas, with bad weather delaying their work.

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Rough seas have made it difficult to ship aid to the Mentawai islands from Padang. In the tsunami zone, regional disaster official Hermansyah said survivors were in urgent need of help. “They have lost their houses and now need a lot of aid and assistance. There are some tents already arrived here but we still need many more,” he told AFP news agency. Hermansyah says that about 4,000 households had been displaced by the tsunami. The people need tents, blankets, food, drinking water and medicine. The Indonesian Red Cross has despatched a team to the islands, and will send 1,000 tents.

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Image courtesy of SurfAid

SurfAid’s Tom Plummer and other assessment teams spent yesterday surveying the damage in villages along the tsunami affected areas of North Pagai and South Pagai. The organization is intensifying its efforts to respond to the disaster. SurfAid has already sent out 1000 shelter kits, 500 building kits and 500 hygiene kits on the charter boat “Huey” which will head for Sikakap.
The charter boat, Barrenjoey, has delivered the first batch of blankets, tarpaulins, floormats, towels, 40 water containers, and rope to the village of Bosua. Assessments and emergency supply deliveries will continue.

SurfAid CEO Andrew Judge met the Indonesian Vice President Bapak Boediono, and presented SurfAid’s response plan. SurfAid is liaising with Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), the Indonesian disaster management authority, to provide whatever support and assistance is needed.

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