There was a 6.5 earthquake last evening in Banda Aceh (“Bahn-dah Ah-chay”), in Sumatra, a far west province of Indonesia, about 1,400 miles from Jakarta. As of this evening, 97 people have died and they expect to find more.
We appreciate the many who have reached out and inquired if we are ok. Yes we are – we felt nothing and thankfully there was no tsunami. Tsunamis occur when the earthquake epicenter is offshore in the ocean – but this one yesterday was on land. In 2004, a devastating 9.5 earthquake happened hundreds of miles offshore, and the subsequent tsunami hit Aceh with over a 100 foot wave. Approximately 225,000 people died – 150,000 in Indonesia alone – and 500,000 Indonesians were displaced. A huge worldwide tsunami relief humanitarian effort was unleashed at the time with US$14 billion donated. The LDS Church responded as well, donating several million dollars and hundreds of local volunteer man-hours. (The Church does not have a congregation in Aceh.)
Since one of our responsibilities is Emergency Response, I called the Humanitarian supervisor in Hong Kong to ask if there was anything we were supposed to do. He said ‘not right now, but if the ER Manager in Salt Lake wants to do anything, he’ll let you know’. We have also reached out to Catholic Relief Services (a partner with LDSC) who are VERY active in ER and offered our assistance. So we are on standby…..
A side note – there are numerous volcanoes here and they erupt fairly frequently – sometimes with devastating results. They have told us the big volcanoes erupt every two to three years and there hasn’t been an eruption for over five years. So….we’ll stand by for that as well…..