Friday, 9 May 2008

Trip to Nias Island Indonesia

This beautiful island was devastated by two disasters in 2004 and again in 2005. It is slowly coming back to life with the help of Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations

Ever since the tsunami struck Nias on 26 December 2004 and a huge earthquake hit Nias again on 28 March 2005, the Red Cross has been doing relief work, building houses, rebuilding schools and hospitals, running livelihood programmes and large water and sanitation programmes, training volunteers in health education and community based first aid, together with a risk reduction or disaster preparedness programme to reduce risks in the future. The damage caused by first the tsunami and later the earthquake was island-wide. The force of the earthquake tilted the island with coral reefs being lifted out of the sea and are now high and dry. As head of our operation in Indonesia, I visited Nias Island this week for monitoring and to talk to and motivate staff and volunteers. Nias is situated off the West Coast of North Sumatra. Around 700,000 people plive on Nias which has one of the lowest standards of living in Indonesia. It is a beautiful island that used to attract dedicated surfers before the Tsunami.

They are slowly trickling back and trying new breaks and waves created by the uplift of the island. Surf Aid, comprised of surfers from around the world, are doing a lot in terms of rehabilitation. The Red Cross has about 200 staff and 1500 volunteers working on Nias

Here are a few photos of my five day trip to Nias this week.

Bringing clean water into villages and installing proper latrines is an important part of our work

An important part of building toilets in the communities is durable and long lasting septic tanks.

Hundreds of septic tanks awaiting distribution and installation.

One of the 3000 houses the Red Cross are building on Nias

The port of Gunung Sitoli is the capital of Nias and is the main sea port where we off-load our water and sanitation components and housing material. Supplies come my small ships, barges and landing crafts.

A meeting with Indonesian Red Cross Volunteers who are trained in public health, first aid, disaster relief and community development skills.

Componets for houses stored in our compound in Lahewa

It is a beautiful island. Sunrise at Gunung Sitoli

A jetty outside my hotel in Gunnang Sitoli

Some of our team:

Vera (l) from Montenegro and Biserka from Macedonia

Younos (i) our head of office and Christopher in charge of construction for the canadian Red Cross. both are from Malawai.

I got back last night, Friday from Nias, where I had been starved of world news. So sad to read about the cyclone in Myanmar but delighted the Red Cross are responding very quickly. My good friend Joe Lowry is in the country working for us and is getting out news reports on our website:


Marja said...

It is so great to see so many people putting their hands together and building on a new future for this beautiful island after such a devastating experience. Very impressive.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
Thanks for the info, update, and photos of a place I have to admit I have never heard of before. We read and see the media get the milage out of the story and move on. You are left behind to help, unsung out here, yet obviously such an impact there. I don't really know what to write here Bob, except well done.
What organiztion could I best contribute to, or help here, to best help the people in Myanmar directly?
Cheers Bob, have a great day. Kai ora!
Ka kite ano,

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Kia Ora Marja and Robb.

Thanks Marja. Always good to get your feedback.

Robb, thanks for your comments. The International Fedeartion of Red Cross is doing great work in Myanmar and if you give money to NZ Red Cross, it will support our work there.

Ka kite ano

Unknown said...

You had a nice trip in North Sumatera...very nice.
Sorry I missed you again.
I belive that I will have a nex trip to Jakarta soon. Hope to talk to you then.
Take care,

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tiger said...

Hi Bob,
Great blog!

I am Lenny and was volunteering teaching English to children in Nias, Indonesia last month in the Ndulu project run by a the local Aprianto.The project is currently raising money to build a new school building because we have to move away from our current location at Lagundri beach. I would like to ask whether you, a having been there and seen it by yourself, could share our cause within your network? It would really be appreciated by the children that we teach and the wider community.Thank you so much for considering this.

And please check out our website

Happy travel :-)
Lenny Pattikawa