Responding to Indonesia's latest tsunami


October 27, 2010

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    The Mentawai Islands, hit by yesterday's tsunami, lie 100 miles off the western coast of Sumatra, on the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean. Photo:

Today was a busy day spent doing logistics for our emergency response to the tsunami that just hit Indonesia's Mentawai Islands. Almost 300 people have died, more than 400 are missing and estimates are that at least 4,000 people are displaced.

Wawan, our team leader, has departed from the city of Padang (on the country's Sumatra Island) to Mentawai. The boat he is on will dock at Sikakap on the island of North Pagai sometime after midnight Wednesday. On Thursday, he will connect with non-governmental organizations he knows well. We will possibly be working with these organizations on response to the tsunami. Wawan will also make arrangements for the storage and distribution of critical supplies to affected families.

The government has arranged for a boat from Jakarta to the city of Sikakap, Mentawai this evening. We are deploying two Indonesia Response Team members, who will travel with 500 jerry cans and 500 tarpaulins on the government boat. We will also send one more staff member on Thursday to help with coordination and distribution.

The United Nations has started to coordinate the response, and Indonesia's Vice-President is scheduled to make a trip to devastated areas, and so there is definite focus on the tsunami's aftermath and its effect on families.

We will keep you informed on our response to this emergency.