SurfAid International Among First To Aid Indonesia Earthquake Victims
Organization is in Need of Urgent Funding to Continue
Emergency Relief Efforts in Padang
Padang, West Sumatra, Oct. 9, 2009 – SurfAid International, a non-profit organization dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering through community-based health programs, has launched an Emergency Response Appeal to assist the people of Padang, Indonesia. The capital city, on the island of Sumatra, is currently in a state of disaster and suffering in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquakes that wreaked havoc on the island.
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SurfAid’s Matt Hannon assists with distributing emergency items to residents of Padang’s Chinatown. Photo: SurfAid
739 people have died and 300 are missing as a result of last week’s 7.6-magnitude earthquake, which was followed by a further damaging 6.8 earthquake the next morning. More than 120,000 homes have been severely damaged and tens of thousands of people are homeless. SurfAid has contributed crucial medical supplies, such as medicine, first-aid kits, dehydration solutions, sutures, minor surgery kits and bandages, along with tents, tarpaulins, construction kits and hygiene packs.
SurfAid International’s Program Director, Dr. David Lange, was working in Padang during the earthquake and narrowly escaped alive as he fled the Ambacang Hotel, which collapsed killing and trapping many occupants. Dr. Lange stated, “I consider myself lucky not only to escape with my life, but as a survivor and SurfAid director, to be in Padang immediately after the disaster to help assist with immediate emergency response initiatives. SurfAid’s Padang office survived the earthquakes and has re-established internet and phone service; we are working 24-hour days to help the people of the island.”
In addition to the current SurfAid outreach in Padang, the organization has a long list of immediate action items they are addressing. Amongst the issues of highest importance are:
• Establish a trauma clinic with 20 trauma counselors and locate hospital victims
• Assist Padang clinics by locating medical supplies
• As assigned by the United Nations, assess the immediate needs and supply aid to coastal areas to the north of Padang, where they are continuing to respond
• Work with IOM to obtain more shelter and hygiene kits
In order to fulfill these assignments, SurfAid is in need of urgent funds to buy medical supplies, tents, tarpaulins, hygiene packs and construction kits. To donate or learn more about SurfAid International visit: www.surfaidinternational.org. In Australia, you can also donate at 1800 257 957.
In 1999, physician and surfer Dr. Dave Jenkins went on a surf charter to the Mentawai Islands with one goal in mind: to find perfect waves. The surf proved to be everything he had hoped for. What he also found, though, were the Mentawai people—mostly women and children—suffering and dying from the ravages of malaria and other preventable diseases. It was a life-changing moment and moved by compassion Dr. Jenkins went on to establish SurfAid International, a non-profit organization dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering through community-based health programs. With the support of the New Zealand and Australian Governments, the global surfing community, and most importantly the Mentawai and Nias people of the affected areas themselves, SurfAid has come to exemplify the healing power of cross-cultural partnerships.