Charter boat found as aid effort begins in Mentawaii

27 Oct 2010 0 99 VIEWS

The captain and crew aboard the charter-boat Southern Cross have been located safe and well in the Southern Mentawaii Islands, near the epicenter of Monday night’s 7.7-magnitude eathquake, allowing aid efforts to focus on the humanitarian response to the disaster.

North Avalon Surfrider President Hamish Nelson confirmed that the eight surfers from Sydney’s northern beaches had been located and well aboard the Southern Cross overnight, along with skipper Chris Scurrah.

Meanwhile the guests and crew from the two yachts involved in the collision in the bay at Macaronis are now in transit to Padang on the Sumatran mainland aboard the Freedom 3, leaving the Midas disabled near the devastated land camp.

“The Midas is gone,” said Jamie Gray from Perfect Wave. “I don’t know what extent by all accounts it’s been looted by the locals, so I imagine it’s just sitting there in the bay [at Maccaronis]. The camp is totaled… all eight bungalows are gone. All the guys went up to the second floor of the café… that’s what saved them.”

An official press release from Macaronis resort said that resort infrastructure has been badly effected but “all guests staying at the resort and our staff are fully accounted for with no severe injuries reported”.

Though reports are still filtering in, it appears nearby Silabu village also sustained severe damage from the two-to-three metre tsumani.

“It’s supposedly pretty bad,” said Jamie this morning. “There are quite a few confirmed dead. I think Silabu was one of the hardest hit. Surf aid are working with the Indies Trader and local government to get aid in there at the moment.”

Milton Brown, from Surfaid international said there had been no specific reports of damage to the communities and infrastructure in the regional overnight, but he was aware of “significant damage” in some villages.

“The damage has gone quite a way up the islands. The epicenter was down in South Pagai and it’s gone about half-way up Sapora. That’s a long way. [Some of the villages] have been smashed a long way up the island chain.”

“It’s really a case of getting in there and seeing what’s going on. We are sending a plane out this afternoon to do an aerial assessment…”

The disaster assessment and relief effort, co-ordinated from Padang, had also been hampered by bad weather yeasterday.

“We have a relief effort going now,” said Brown, “People can call 1800 257 957 or go to www.surfaidinternational.org and donate through the website.”

Reuters reported earlier today that at least “108 dead and 502 [people were] injured. ”

Reports suggest that the Govenor of Sumatra and the vice-president of Indonesia are en-route to the area to assess damage and co-ordinate the disaster response.

Please visit www.surfaidinternational.org for more information and to help the aid effort.

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