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Santiago Aguerre sent us this impassioned note about the Mentawai relief effort after we first posted our story on SurfAid's efforts.
Dear Surf industry members,
It was almost 8 years ago that surfers and our industry came to the realization that this pristine, far away, wave rich, only visited by surfers, land, needed our help. It was us or nobody else.
The response was strong and decisive, the industry united, the funds came, the projects got going and things for the people there started to get better and better. First malaria control then the health programs, and then all this replicated across the islands. And then the Tsunami of a week ago came and took a lot of that away along with many lives.
What to do now? This is not the time to look down and give up, this is the time to make an extra effort, to reach out to them and once again show that our industry is made of incredible unique leaders that know well when it is time to step it up. Many innocent eyes are looking out for our help. Let’s roll on once again.
Reef Co-Founder and proud member of the surf tribe.
The Indonesian Government recently requested that SurfAid International, a nonprofit supported by many members of the surfing community, take a lead in coordinating the non-governmental organization (NGO) response to the Mentawai Island tsunami that hit the islands on October 25th.
Triggered by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake, the tsunami has caused damage to four of the main islands located off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. More than 23,000 people have been displaced or affected.
More than 300 people are still missing and 449 people are confirmed dead as a result, according to the latest government report. The epicenter was reportedly 149 miles south of the port city of Padang and about 50 miles off shore from the Mentawai Center.
The Mentawai Islands are very dear to the surf industry. The area boasts some of the most popular and famous surf breaks in the world.
The tsunami washed out Macaronis Bay, where two surf charter boats, The Midas and Freedom were moored. The boats reportedly collided into each other and Midas caught on fire. All guests jumped overboard, but everyone was okay. The Macaronis Resort was also severely damaged, but guests ran upstairs and no one was injured, according to reports.
Besides Macaronis, villages near surf breaks like Bintang’s, Lance’s Left, The Hole, Lighthouse, Mac Fries, Green Bush and Thunders were also severely damaged.
While the government has tried to send in purified water, food and medical supplies, The Jakarta Globe Newspapers reported yesterday that the efforts have been difficult because of heavy rains and lack of official coordination in some of the villages.
On page 2: SurfAid video from Mentawai, how the surf community has rallied to help SurfAid, plus a link where you can donate