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TR: Mentawai Islands, Indonesia

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Thanks for your concerns Mambear. Just got sent this update by Surfaid... still pretty grim


Padang, Thursday 8 October 2009:


Three groups of SurfAid assessment teams, ascertaining where SurfAid should focus its initial relief efforts, have returned from the sub-districts of Agam and Pasaman Barat (West Pasaman), which lie to the north of Padang and were heavily hit by the earthquakes.


"SurfAid was requested by UN-OCHA to undertake rapid assessment of two coastal sub-districts of Agam and we found 75,000 people without shelter,†SurfAid Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Judge, said today from SurfAid Emergency Response headquarters in Padang. “Rain is forecast for the next week so SurfAid is urgently planning with other agencies to respond to this assessment."


SurfAid has loaded a boat, the Kuala Intan Baru2, with emergency supplies for Pasaman Barat. On board are 300 shelter kits, 700 tarpaulins, 300 construction kits and 500 hygiene packs, plus medical staff. The boat will depart from Muara Harbour Padang at 8am tomorrow (Wednesday 7 October) bound for Sasak Harbour in the north.


Tom Plummer, our Mentawai Program Manager who has come to Padang from his base in Tua Pejat, said: “We have enough solid information about the situation and we are sending shelter and hygiene kits to the affected area as soon as we can, along with doctors, nurses and medicine, so the community can receive immediate help.â€


A team of six from SurfAid will join the boat, along with one person from Trocaire. The journey will take eight hours. The emergency supplies will be distributed to the three worst-hit sub-districts of Pasaman Barat:

1. Sasak Ranah Pasisia, IDPs 1000

2. Luhak Nan Duo, IDPs 15,000

3. Kinali, IDPs 30,000


(IDPs – Internally Displaced Persons. These figures are a broad estimation only.)


Kuala Intan will act as a floating warehouse, staff accommodation and communication post. The team will take two motorbikes onboard the boat. Other boats are standing by in Muara Harbour if further supplies are needed to Sasak.


SurfAid CEO Dr Dave Jenkins, Matt Hannon and Tom Plummer will depart Padang to Sasak with a speedboat to do primary treatment and further assessment tomorrow morning.


SurfAid is planning with other aid agencies - IOM (trucks and transport), Save the Children (NFIs (non food items), especially shelter) and SurfAid (distribution, Monitoring & Evaluation) - to do distribution in the Agam area. Departure is also planned for tomorrow.


Shelter has been identified as key priority in all areas and SurfAid is currently sourcing shelter kits from cities outside Padang.


SurfAid Founder and CEO, Dr Dave Jenkins, said all SurfAid staff have rallied, despite some of them having near-death experiences and others losing their homes.


"The team spirit amazes me yet again as we roll out our program to the many people in need," Dr Dave said. "These are unforgettable moments for our maturing organisation - to serve with such warm-hearted people passionately committed to the welfare of others."

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claims are a round. drop-ins are a round.

sometimes it's hard to keep you arms down when you get a crazy pit. in that case the beers are worth it. some guests are still so pumped about their tube they can't wait to shout their mates.


had a heay day yesterday involving my wife giving CPR to one of our crew who stopped breathing while having multiple seizures. he's not out of the woods yet but we might just have saved someone's life, something i'm hoping is true and am still coming to terms with.


it's a long story, i'll post more later

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That's awful spook.


Watch your wife if things don't go well - make sure she is coping ... a friend of mine assisted after a traffic accident and brought a fellow back with CPR, he later died in hospital, and she was absolutely distraught.


With a sad outcome you have to know without intervention the outcome would have been the same. And the chance for that person to be saved is worth the risk of stepping up and feeling sad. Here's hoping he will be OK.

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earlier today we received the sad news that our friend is no longer with us.

i don't want to go into details but we had a heavy day involving a remote area evacuation in very trying circumstances in a third world country. i guess not every story has a happy ending, but that is life.

i'm pretty torn up about this. memories come flooding back and the tears flow

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Sorry to hear that Spook.


Your right. Life's not always fun and games. I can well imagine the logistics involved in what you went through.

When the time is right, I'd like to hear whatever detail you'd like to share with us.


Chin up mate.

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thanks for the kind words everyone. bawled my eyes out a few times and am feeling better now. losing someone close to you is always hard, but sometimes it is just their time to go.


we've had a hell ten days up here, then this. tali was one of our original crew and someone who's been here for almost the entire time i have. i remember many things about him, from when we first met in a friend's restaurant, his cat he loved, the amazingly thin joints he would share with me whenever he had some, and more eccentrically the bells he started wearing on his clothes for the past few months. we worked together every day and slept under the same roof every night. he was a good man and a good friend.


it's a long and complicated story but basically a few days ago we were alone at the resort as everyone else had taken our boats and gone to 'town' 90 minutes away to sort various issues out. soon after they left, tali started complaining of headaches and fevers. we soothed him, he slept and we thouht he would sleep it off.


a few hours later he suddenly started having multiple seizures. kate was giving him cpr between his fits to keep him breathing, and i was frantically running through the jungle to find some friends with a boat to rush him to the nearest hospital 90 min away. a huge storm was battering us, big waves, trying to load 150L of fuel through a pounding shorebreak and stretcher him onto the boat. it was all happening. basic first aid traiing was kicking in and the adrenlin was pumping for all of us.


I was relieved when we got him into town and he was still with us. he seemed to be recovering but they sent him to padang a few days later for better treatment and he passed away in the hospital there. devastated is the best way to describe how we are feeling.


but... everyone involved did everything they could. friends and strangers helped in an emergency situation and no expense was spared in his treatment. his last few weeks with us were the happiest i've seen him, so we all have good memories of that.


as he was christian his family requested that we return his body to his village on nias. we chartered a boat, dressed him in a fine suit and placed him in a coffin. all of which cost several times his annual salary, but it's the least we could do. years ago he left his village to work as a diesel mechanic in the hold of a leaky fishin boat, and his final few years were spent living well surrounded by friends. i like to think that he went home in style.


and then today i was walking down to the beach to take the guests surfing and i got hit by a coconut falling from a 40m tree. i seriously can't belive i'm ok. a few cm either way and my collarbone would be shattered or my head split open. i'm going to go have a beer and watch the sunset now

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What an incredible ordeal spook. You, your wife and the team there did everything you could for your mate both before and after his passing.

thumbsup I am sure he would be very proud of the dignified way you sent him off.

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here til early december. had a semi-informal wake with the crew last night. apparently late yesterday a local was gored by a wild pig not far from here and someone else died from a snake bite it just never ends, but that's part and parcel of living on a remote 3rd world island

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The flip side to paradise ay Spook?


Sounds like an ordeal mate (boat, fuel, storm, emergency evacuation, CPR....sheeez). One that you handled well. Your mates family will be stoked for the effort made by you and your crew. Like Indo said. You should be in the clear now.


More barrels and good times from now on. thumbsup

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yeah, definitely the flipside to paradise. anyone out here long-term deals with so much stressful stuff. it's the price you pay. makes me laugh when guests are also going on about how'd they'd do anything to trade places. i just look at them and think, if only you knew...

but, and it's a big but, the intense dramas of the last few weeks have really brought home to me the importance of enjoying each day and each moment. things will never be perfect in life, but it's a shame let it get to you too much and not to notice all the good things in the world

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Amen Spook!

After my recent health scare I have had a very similar realization.


I reckon live passionately every day, and see the beauty and joy in small things. When the bad stuff comes you can choose to let it consume you, or you can reflect the good things off the bad and see how truly wonderful the little every day things are.






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