SurfAid: "No deaths or serious injuries at Mentawais after earthquake"

October 4, 2009 | Surfing

West Sumatra

SurfAid speedboat Sibex arrived back in Tuapejat late yesterday with a team of eight people from various government departments following an assessment visit to the East Coast of Siberut – the northernmost Mentawai island.

Reports from the sub-districts of Muara Siberut and Sikabaluan, the areas that were presumed to be worst affected by the September 30 earthquake, are that there is no significant damage of infrastructure. The team said “one or two schools have collapsed and also a church in Malancan village near Sikabaluan”. Many houses have shifted from their foundations but are still habitable.

The three islands to the south of Siberut (Sipora, Pagai Utara, Pagai Selatan) reported no serious damage. One mosque and an elementary school in Sido Makmur village collapsed. A number of goverment buildings in Tuapejat have sustained moderate structural damage. There are no clear reports from many of the more isolated villages.

Mark Loughran from Macaronis Resort on Pagai Utara stated that he “barely felt the quake” and reports that the nearby village of Silabu “is ok”.

There are no reports of deaths or serious injuries across the Mentawai.

A large portion of the population were reported to have evacuated to higher ground following the earthquake. It appears most people have returned to their houses, possibly prompted by incessant rainfall since the earthquake.

People in the villages are traumatised and are reluctant to return to day-to-day livelihood activities such as fishing and going to their fields.

Handphone reception has been inactive since the earthquake. Power in Tuapejat and the subdistrict remains on.

Many government workers and business owners from Tuapejat left to Padang in longboats over the last few days.

Normal ferry transport services to/from Padang have stopped though SMA airways, which flies between the Mentawai and Padang, has resumed normal operations as from today.

Stocks of daily food items in Tuapejat shops are becoming scarce.