Some of you might already know about this, but I’d like to let you all know about the earthquake that happened here on Saturday (8/18). USGS measured it as a 6.3, but where we were in the city (about 35 miles north of the epicenter) it didn’t feel too strong. We haven’t seen any damage or heard of any injuries here. However, down in the remote community where the epicenter was things are much worse. So far we know that at least 6 people died, with many more seriously injured. So far at least 6 have been airlifted out to the local hospital.
The epicenter was right in the middle of a remote national park with no phone reception and no roads, so the disaster response was somewhat delayed. Thankfully the government and Red Cross have been getting aid into the affected villages, but without a helicopter it is a 3 hour hike in past the landslides. I and some others drove down with a carload of food and supplies, and it turns out we arrived just as the helicopter (from another organization in town) was arriving.
I was impressed by the response I saw while I was down there, but we’re starting to think ahead to the ongoing needs of people there in the weeks and months to come after the earthquake is old news. Although this isn’t in the area of our people group, some of our coworkers are working in the area and we’d like to help out if we can. Right now we’re still assessing things and finding out what is needed, but if there is anything that could help we’ll let you all know. For now, here’s some pictures that a local translation worker from Lindu took.
Here’s a few pictures I took of the helicopter airlifting the supplies. A friend of ours is the pilot:
Some of the supplies, and some fuel drums for the helicopter in the foreground. The clover-shaped patch on peoples’ shirts with a red cross in it is the local Red Cross symbol.
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.