Friday, October 09, 2009
Three years ago this month, I was in the city of Padang on the Western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia embarking on a 15-day surf trip. Click here to check out the blog I kept whilst traveling in that neck of the woods.
I mention this now as the information and images start materializing over the recent earthquake/tsunami, which hit Padang very hard. Death tolls and injury estimates are all over the place but I don't it's fair to assign a # as this is a tragedy, whether 1 person died or thousands. The search efforts have been abandoned for any survivors now a week after the quake hit and now all efforts are on trying to protect the water supply and make sure the city does not fall even deeper into despair. The city center of Padang--a chaotic, bustling metropolis packed with people and shoddy buildings--is a war zone with an estimated 20,000 buildings badly damaged or destroyed and over 200,000 homes damaged or destroyed in Padang and the surrounding areas. Padang, BTW, is a city of 900,000...so that's pretty messed up.
Now, the rains are setting in and dangers of mudslides and flooding threaten the survivors and all the relief efforts in the area.
An organization that I became associated with years ago is right in the center of this disaster. SurfAid International is doing everything they can to help the Indonesian people. Their director of operations in Indonesia escaped the hotel he was visiting seconds before it collapsed, killing many guests as it crumbled. SurfAid is not equipped for a disaster like this (who is, really) but is trained in protecting the health of those people displaced by the earthquake and they need all the help they can get.
This is the hotel the SurfAid Indonesian Director was inside as the earthquake started
If you're in a generous mood, please stop by their website and donate what you can. Every penny counts ($10 over there does a TON) and I know from working with them and seeing the scope and effectiveness of their operations, these are the best people for the job and their beliefs in providing adequate care to all those affected by disease, natural disaster and oppression are second to none.
Hang in there Padang...