Damage in Pedang. Photo: BBC.
It's 6.45 am. Grabbed an hour's sleep between 4.45 and 5.45 am. Conducted over 35 interviews during the night. Just said goodbye to the boys as they left to catch the school bus.
The best first hand account I have got so far if from my old friend Colin Tuck. Tucky is one of New Zealand's best helicopter pilots and is based in a village called Battang Toro west north west of Pedang. His company services oil rigs drilling out in the Indian Ocean. He felt the quake yesterday and said it was a huge shake and just went on and on. With a wry sense of humour he said, " I was with 4 Aussies when the quake struck, and they were shitting themselves, but being a Kiwi living on the faultline in NZ, I handled it OK." Tucky then informed me that as a boy he lived through the Inangahua earthquake, the biggest ever to hit New Zealand in 1968. I think it was an 8.9 or 9.0 on the Richter scale. I knew Tucky when he was a helicopter pilot at Fox Glacier and I was in charge of alpine rescue. We did a few rescues together.
Tucky said its raining heavily and he has been unable to take off. He said the weather is clearing.
I've been in touch with Wayne Ulrich my disaster management coordinator who is trying to get a flight from Medan to Padang. If that fails we will try to see if Tucky can fly him in. Wayne will be joining the Indonesian Red Cross DM staff . We are getting reports that the Indonesian Red Cross has 30 community based action teams on the ground providing first aid and rescue, and 12 assessment teams. Fift volunteers Red Cross doctors are flying in to provide medical help. During the past 18 months the Indonesian Red Cross have conducted an extensive disaster preparedness programme in the area and have relief supplies on hand. Will keep you posted.