Post Mentawais Tsunami with SurfAid

Photos, captions and introduction by Duncan Macfarlane

I was walking along the half-made pathway towards the hamlet of Gobik on Sipora Island in the Mentawai. Julian, the captain for our boat charter, by my side while I was shooting photos of young schoolkids walking by. Julian said he used to shoot photos while on the charters but doesn’t anymore. Puzzled, I asked him why not and he looked at me and said, “Tsunami.”

Last week (Wednesday, April 11) an 8.6 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia, followed by an 8.2M aftershock. While no large tsunami was produced, the quake sits just outside the bubble of the top 10 largest earthquakes on record. There were power cuts to many regions and chaos as people headed to higher ground throughout SE Asia. Five people died, mainly from heart attacks, but fortunately the three tsunamis that were generated only rose to 2 feet.

The trip on Julian’s boat was with Ry Craike and Dom Wills to document SurfAid’s work in the Mentawai since the 2010 tsunami, which killed more than 500 people in the islands. We surfed throughout the islands, stopping in between spots to visit the villages and take in what local life is really like under the threat of tsunamis and earthquakes, and how SurfAid’s programs have been helping the locals prepare for emergencies and recover.