West Sumatra Earthquake: A Heart Wrenching Situation

19 10 2009

IMG00146-20091017-11132, 5 hours trip from the capital city of West Sumatra, Padang to neighboring district of Padang Pariaman. Pariaman is a coastal district that reported to be most affected area from the earthquake, last 30 September 2009 in West Sumatra.

As we drive along the main road, entering Padang Pariaman, in humanitarian point of view the affected area is patchy. Some are ranging of 10% of houses damaged, and some could rise to up to 50% damages.

Drove further down off the main road to Kudu Gantiang regency, the damages start to look more severe than previous regencies we passed along the way. Road was cracked especially along the slope in which some of the slope deceased by the landslide, big rocks covering some of the road this may cause aid distribution truck stuck for a while before they can continue their way to the distribution point.

photo courtesy of IOM West Sumatra

photo courtesy of Timo Idema, IOM West Sumatra

We finally made to a village or locally know Nagari of Sialang. Asphalt road changed to rocky in a hilly road. With kind 4×4 vehicle assistance of IOM we managed to stop before continuing our way by foot up to the affected area up in the hill for about 4 KM.

On the side road, school and house were not only damaged but some were completely collapsed from the earthquake. Based on ground assessment, housing in this area collapsing due to poorly constructed houses, as most of the house inadequately constructed without strong concrete frame and beam-less, which during the earthquake enable the building wall rocking and finally collapsing.

We stop by at one of the house. The only remaining part of the house is only the roof, topping the 120 cm high concrete left. There are 7 people in this house and as the temporary shelter the built in front of the remains out of tarpaulin only enough for the men, the rest of the family member life under the remaining roof.

Photo courtesy of IOM West Sumatra

Photo courtesy of Timo Idema, IOM West Sumatra

We continue our visit. Road were start become extremely rough as tons of soil and its vegetation covering up the ground. Climb up and hopping from hardened dirt to another, we can still see some of the remaining house from afar. Most of humanitarian aid here weren’t distributed here. The survivors have to come all the way down to the nearest village to pick up the aid and climb up carrying 5 kg of food item aid.

We were trying to go further as we reach in the middle of the landslide slop to the affected area, but we decided to return as we found water in between the hill which might harm the team if we try to go further, as the land is still fragile and prone to another landslide.

It’s a heart-anguishing experience and yet inspiring. Seeing how people coping the situation quickly and continue their life back to the normal condition in minimal situation.




2 responses

19 10 2009


read the articles as i’m doing the media analysis for the media center…

so sad!

20 10 2009
Christy Sibuea

so sad, so inspiring… i like that. it’s definitely inspired me to be prepared, that anything could happen just in a blink… God bless Padang, and I surely hope that they could recover soon from the disaster trauma.

to all the donor, please stop sending your expired items! that’s just no good at all!

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