According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a magnitude 7 earthquake carries about as much as energy as 199,000 tons of TNT. That kind of energy is the reason why the small Mentawai Islands off the west coast of Sumatra were hit by a three-meter (10-foot) tsunami wave, which was spawned by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in the Indian Ocean.
What is left is devastation as far as 600 meters (more than 1/3 of a mile) inland from the shore. The death toll is still rising — the latest estimate is at least 370 fatalities — but we do know that approximately 25,000 people, or about 5,000 households, have been affected.
Mercy Corps is working now to bring the basic necessities people need to start over again. Several team members are making their way to the remote island chain on a variety of boats, with supplies in hand to deliver to displaced and grieving families.