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SurfAid Prepares Mentawai Islands for Earthquake/Tsunami

11 November 2011

SurfAid Prepares Communities for Predicted Large Earthquake/Tsunami in the Mentawai Islands

Auckland Fundraiser on Thursday 17 November
Tairua Paddle for Humanity Saturday 19 November
with Dr Dave Jenkins, SurfAid Founder and Medical Director (nominated as 'New Zealander of the Year' 2011)

Humanitarian organisation SurfAid International was a lead agency in the emergency response to the Mentawai Islands tsunami in October last year and continues to play a leading role in the recovery program.

More than 500 people died in the disaster and 15,000 were displaced from their homes.

Experts however predict a much larger earthquake and tsunami for the Sumatran region - one that could nearly rival the horrific Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.

Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) Director Kerry Sieh and his colleagues predict that an earthquake of up to magnitude 8.8 can be expected off the western coast of Sumatra within a few decades.

SurfAid founder and medical director Dr Dave Jenkins said the predicted earthquake could very likely produce a large tsunami. “It’s important that we prepare the coastal communities in the islands. The Mentawai tsunami last October showed how our emergency preparedness work acts as a powerful life saver,” Dr Jenkins said.

“While more than 500 people died we lost only nine people in villages where we had worked. After the earthquake people in our villages escaped quickly to the hills along prepared tracks and in an efficient manner thanks to the drills we had facilitated.”

Since the tsunami, SurfAid has been rolling out a series of programs including psychosocial support, health, clean water, shelter and emergency preparedness (E-Prep) - for which SurfAid has won awards in Indonesia.

“The Mentawai people and their children need everyone who wishes to save lives from a tsunami to support us to do more, especially in the face of this inevitable 8.8 earthquake,” Dr Jenkins said.

About SurfAid
The mission of SurfAid International, a non-profit humanitarian organisation, is to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing.

SurfAid’s health programs involve education in nutrition, hygiene, healthy environments and disease prevention - including mosquito net distribution.

SurfAid has built an award-winning capacity in emergency preparedness and has delivered five emergency response programs following major disasters, including the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami and the October 2010 Mentawai tsunami.


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