Sulawesi Earthquake & Tsunami Relief Initiative
Today, Waves For Water is launching, SETRI, a disaster relief initiative, in response to the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Indonesian city of Palu and the surrounding areas on Sulawesi Island. A 7.5 earthquake, followed by a tsunami, which in some areas reached heights of more than 20 feet, has affected more than 1 million people living in the area. The country has also suffered a series of aftershocks, according to the USGS. Several jolts, some as strong as 6.0 magnitude, hit Sumba, an island hundreds of miles away from Sulawesi, on Monday.
As the death toll surpasses the 1,300 mark, more than 61,000 people displaced and 66,000 homes destroyed, the full extent of the damage is still unknown. With bridges down and roads destroyed, some heavily hit areas have been hard to reach, making it difficult to assess damage and provide assistance.
Indonesia is actually the birth place for Waves For Water... in September 2009 our founder, Jon Rose, was aboard a boat off the coast of Sumatra when he felt a slight shake. A 7.6 earthquake had destroyed the nearby city of Padang, with more than 1,000 lives lost and 100,000 homeless. He was actually on his way to Bali to implement 10 water filters for what was supposed to be the very first action for his pet-project idea, Waves For Water. Instead he became a first responder in Padang and implemented those 10 filters to relief centers around ground zero. It was this experience that truly set the course for what Waves For Water is today.
Our initial goal with any program like this is to help mitigate the immediate suffering by providing victims with access to safe water. Then as we have boots on the ground and start to establish our local networks we will implement long term programs that can be managed and built upon, locally. It is really no different than the work we have done (and continue to do) in Haiti. For example, the first phase is urgent in nature and made up of multiple strategic strikes into the hardest hit areas of the disaster zone. These strikes entail us providing access to clean water by distributing portable water filtration systems to community centers, refugee camps, and individual families in these areas. Then the second phase, though still providing relief, consists of expanding the program by implementing more long term solutions, such as rainwater harvesting systems and borehole wells, while continuing to seek out new regions of need beyond ground zero. Thank you for your support, we will be updating everyone from the field, once our team is on the ground.