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The Big Map

Indonesia, September 30, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Angela Owen/Mercy Corps  </span>
    From left to right: Pat Dooris, KGW cameraman and Paul Jeffery consult The Big Map as they discuss the recent 7.6 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Angela Owen/Mercy Corps

At 5:16 P.M. (Indonesian time) on September 30, a 7.6 earthquake hit off the coast of Sumatra. By 2:40 P.M. Portland time, reporter Pat Dooris from KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon had showed up to interview Paul Jeffery, our Senior Program Manager for Southeast Asia.

The people of West Sumatra are facing something extraordinary: in a couple of hours, they will be waking up to a tragically changed landscape.

Mercy Corps has been working with the local communities — situated in one of the world's most earthquake-prone areas — to enhance their disaster preparedness response. We are hopeful that this still-new program has already helped people in the immediate aftermath of the quake, but we know that there is so much more to be done. One of the best ways to drive the support we need to deliver the kind of aid that is vital is by educating people about the crisis using TV, radio, online and print media. That's why we go to the Big Map.

Where did the earthquake hit? Sumatra? Is that in Asia? How do you spell it? Geography is sometimes a struggle here in our country. But by getting the word out and going to the Big Map, we can bring the needs of our global neighbors a little closer to home.