Friday, September 14, 2007

Mentawai quake update

For those who are curious, here's some news about the Mentawai islands from employees of the health and development NGO Surf Aid, off their webpage. Sounds like things are scary but in pretty good shape considering the pounding they've taken over the last two days. I imagine tsunami warnings are uniquely frightening when you're on a small island.

Sunset from a thatched bridge, Sipora Island, Mentawais

"I'm back in Tuapejat from Siberut [writes one Surf Aid staffer]. Bit scary up there but no victims, and houses rattled and damaged but mostly standing. The communities are scared and sleeping outside close to evacuation routes.

"No one left in Tuapejat. All have evacuated to higher ground. Very eerie, no power."

"90% of houses in Siberut island were damaged."

and earlier:

"Earthquake just after 7am local time this morning was a really big one. ... Ground fully shaking, women and children cowering in the street.

"SurfAid's Mentawai program manager Praem Poobalan just sent a message saying about 20 houses fully damaged in Tuapejat. ... SurfAid staff are at her house, plus some of the community in her garden - all on higher ground as there were tsunami warnings after big shake this morning. People really scared."


elyani said...

My sympathy goes to all the affected people and may God has mercy on them. This quake has really distressed lots of people...and it is our responsibility to help these people, who need our help so desperately.

michele said...

wow, quakes and tsunami warnings are scary enough, but being on a small island seems particularly frightening. is there any real "high ground" high enough in the Mentawais to protect residents from potential big waves?

sounds like tsunamis have not been a factor yet, which is hopeful.

kopisusu2 said...

In Tuapejat, I recall some hills, but Katiet seemed pretty flat and low-lying. When you think about it, I suppose even on a huge land mass you're only going to be able to run so far - so maybe it doesn't matter if there's another 1500 miles of land after that, or another 15 miles. I do remember, though, the sense of being cut off when I was there. If the ocean was rough and the ferry wasn't running, you weren't going to get any help from the mainland. And that would definitely make me nervous.

Apparently there was one big wave, but the message of 2004 sank in and everybody had abandoned the coastline by the time it hit. And there's a theory that there was a really huge wave, but because of the geography of the quake, it rolled out to sea instead of hitting Sumatra.