One Year On Since the Big Earthquakes

Annex F – Lombok Visit – One Year On Since the Big Earthquakes (LinkedIn Article)

Brad revisited Lombok in August 2019, one year on – following the Quakes of August 2018 last year to see how the rebuild/repairs have progressed since I was last there conducting Earthquake (EQ) building assessments and disturbing aid in the form of Disaster Response Bags and giving training.

Below is the overview of what happened during the series of EQs.

Brad was heavily involved in the EQ of Lombok.  He was actually in Lombok to survey a Rehabilitation Clinic for drug addicts and alcoholics that the other Founder his wife Vica was due to consult in the following week! However, on the night of the 5 August 2018, a destructive and shallow earthquake measuring Mw 6.9 (ML 7.0 according to BMKG) struck the island of Lombok, Indonesia. It was the main shock following its foreshock, a nearby Mw 6.4 earthquake on 29 July. 

At the time of the EQ Brad was ordering a pizza and meeting friends just after 7pm in Sengiggi, when the shake hit this very busy restaurant. Brad followed the procedure from New Zealand during an EQ to “Drop-Hold-Cover”. Brad remained under the table while the screaming and panicking diners led by the fleeing staff, who ran into the main street as the power failed and the lights went dead!

Then the fight broke out in the darkness!

Once the shaking had stopped Brad immediately carried out a Triage (prioritizing the immediate dangers and casualties).  This is known as a Scene Assessment.  Once the group of diners had stopped their arguments (about ‘who had run over who’ in the stampede), they then started to go into shock – that’s when the crying started.  It gave Brad time to grab his back pack and find his First Aid and Trauma Kit, (something he always carries with him since his days in the British Military).  Out of all the victims Brad assisted two children from Holland were in the worst hurt and very emotionally traumatized.  By recognizing this fact, Brad calmed them down with their parents present and told them they were, ‘Brave boys’ – then he fixed them up with his First Aid Skills.  This gave the boys strength to cry no more.

The next concern was the overhead power cables and the threat of more Aftershocks and the risk of a Tsunami.  From Brad’s experience there was very short window of safety – just minutes.  Brad took the lead and told all group to check their smart phones.  Identify the Apps or Google Information for the Earthquake reports.   He then guided them over to the Tsunami Evacuation Point in Sengiggi and the group climbed up to higher ground overnight.  

In the morning Brad discovered that his hotel had been smashed and his room had partially collapsed, so he stayed at a friend’s house (along with many others) on The Hill above Senggigi. (Thanks to Andrew and Felicity).

Brad assisted others in the three or four days he was there, then returned home to Jakarta, the Foundation raised donations and created Disaster Response Bags for the Victims, the main donators was HSW (Thank you). While Brad was in Jakarta, he was called many times from Lombok.  The local Expat and Business Community knew Brad had worked in NZ on the Earthquake Recovery under Earthquake Commission (EQC) of the NZ Government and was a qualified Advanced Craft builder from the UK, support by HSE qualifications. Therefore, they requested his services to assess their properties on return to see if they could be repaired or demolished.

The Return to Lombok

On the 17thAugust 2018 Brad returned and started delivering the Disaster Response Bags on his own to affected communities, as well as conducting EQ Building Assessments.  Types of buildings included; small residential houses, the multi-level Nusa Alam School in Mataram to the Novotel Hotel in Kuta.  All the owners had to do was donate to YPM.

Then on 19 August 2018 – this time around 11.15pm Mw6.9 earthquake.  Once the shaking had stopped, Brad grabbed his First Aid and Trauma Kit and headed out into the hills.  On arrival to the first village he found some injured – Giving First Aid for the rest of the night to the already homeless refugees – that were already traumatized.

The next day with no sleep Brad headed to Gili Air and continued with the EQ Building Assessments.  The atmosphere further north felt like doom and gloom – It was very interesting indeed!

Moving Forward

Since the evening of the 5th August Brad has completed over 50 EQ Building Assessments over a period of three or four months. The majority of the owners have now repaired their properties or have demolished them and built new.  The donations received from the homeowners and business owners, went back into The Great 5 Foundation and were used mainly for Sunda Straits that was affected by Tsunami, other disaster affected locations and training.

Conclusion

The visit discovered that the local population were still very much traumatized.  This was to be expected, however what concerned me personally, was still the lack of understanding of what to do during an EQ and very few households (if any) had any form of ‘grab bag’. A grab bag contains essentials such as water, tinned food, medication, first aid kit, etc.  There was no Civil Response organized on Gili Air either. 

On Gili Air Brad raised a few questions to local expatriates and the local community and found they were told to still ‘run out of their houses during an EQ!’ The reason given to me, “The houses we live in are too fragile and would collapse in the next EQ”.  No one had been told by government officials to make a ‘strong room’ with in house or told how to respond moving to an assembly point in a clearing away from trees and overhead power cables.  

Having said that, The National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure (Indonesian: Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana; officially National Disaster Management Authority), abbreviated as BNPB. They have released a number of media PDF files of how to respond during a disaster and it follows similar procedures / SOPs and New Zealand and Japan.   

Therefore, the solution now (I believe) is physical training across the ‘Ring of Fire’ in Indonesia, because many citizens just don’t know, cannot read and just believe what they hear (gossip). Ideally as the world’s most populated Muslim country, training could be rolled out through places of worship and in the schools across the nation.  

This I believe will be the key in going forward and is based on my 20 years’ experience of living and working here.

If you would like further information on the SOPS released by the BNPB and other disaster agencies, please send me a message request? If our Foundation (locally known as Yayasan Panca Maha) can also help you with training and coaching in; Disaster Response, First Aid and Trauma Response, HSE training, Counseling, etc. please get in touch thegreat5foundation@gmail.com or W/A messaging only on +6281297939368, and we will respond within 4 hours.

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