The arrival of a newsletter from SurfAid International
serves as a reminder that there is still much work to be done in the aftermath of last December's tsunami and the subsequent earthquakes.The SurfAid teams based in SurfAid's head-quarter offices in Padang and the Mentawai Islands, are all safe and sound following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that shook both locations May 14th at 12:05 Indonesian time. The epicenter of the quake was just 50km west of Padang. There have been no reports of deaths or serious injuries either in Padang or Nias.
SurfAid medical team members in the field on board the Nauli - the boat used for emergency mobile medical clinics in the area - reported widespread panic. "We were anchored 50 meters away from Teluk Dalam in Southern Nias," said SurfAid team leader Angie Bexley.
"Everyone was onboard when we felt a slow rippling movement that obviously wasn't the natural motion of the waves that lasted three to four minutes. We could see people running on land. No houses fell, primarily because most of them have all been destroyed by the big quake in March. TVs got shaken off tables, fridges fell over. But people are incredibly frightened. We visited the village after the quake. People had evacuated up to the hills, but they have gradually been coming back to the village as fears of tsunami recede. This quake however has definitely re-traumatized them."
This earthquake is the third large trembler in the region in just over six weeks. The March 28 earthquake which measured 8.7 magnitude killed at least 600 people and seriously injured thousands more. Up to 40% of homes were also been wiped out in affected villages.
A second quake on April 11th caused further damage and forced SurfAid to move offices after large cracks appeared in the walls of former headquarters at Hotel Dipo in Padang.
Currently SurfAid has stood down from emergency response and is resuming public health and malaria prevention post-disaster programming in the Mentawai Islands, Nias, Simeulue and the Banyak Islands.