As you may have heard in the news, Indonesian volcano Mount Merapi in Java erupted on October 25, causing many casualties in the central Java region, around Yogyakarta, causing a tsunami that hit the Mentawai Islands in Sumatra. These are the exact Islands I traveled to in July and August to make portraits of the Mentawai Tribe.
The eruption was accompanied by a 7.7 earthquake on the Richter scale that triggered the tsunami, which hit the town of Padang in Sumatra, way up north, as well as the Mentawai Islands. This is more than the third time the region is hit, after a tsunami in 2004, and an earthquake in 2009.
The exact magnitude of damages is hard to estimate, but the videos and reports I could find on the web are talking about the exact same places I travelled through, and I can only hope that the families that hosted us so kindly in the Mentawai got away without too much trouble. You can see their portraits on my website in the “Mentawai” project. They were located well further within land, but it seems the waves have been up the river a good deal. I hope they are OK.
The news report: “a total of 22 595 citizens of the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia Sumatera Barat, who are still displaced after the earthquake. The latest death toll from the tsunami disaster in the Mentawai reaches 413 deaths, 298 people remain missing and about 12 thousand who fled.
As is known, in the Mentawai tsunami occurred on Monday night (25/10), preceded the quake at 21:40 pm and followed by a tsunami warning at 21:47 pm. However, the warning was reportedly revoked on 52 minutes after the earthquake event. Finally, the tsunami came and shut down almost the entire population in the Mentawai Islands.”
You can see some Youtube videos showing some of the damage done, here’s an excerpt:
A report from Surfaid, a couple of days after the tsunami: