Sumatra earthquake update

Since the earthquakes in the west of Sumatra, Indonesia on 30th September and 1st October, we have been liaising with our staff on the ground about the level of damage and help needed.

FFI’s Program Manager Conservation Partnerships Zoe Cullen, who is based in Sumatra, gave us an update on the situation earlier today:

“We now have some clearer information about the impact in approximately seven forest edge villages in Merangin district, in the province of Jambi, Sumatra.  It seems that this is the area that was worst affected by the second earthquake, and is in the heart of the Kerinci Seblat landscape, where FFI has been working since 1995.”

Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP) and its buffer zone is a vast area of tropical lowland and hill forest spanning four provinces in central western Sumatra, Indonesia. There are some very badly affected and isolated communities in the Kerinci-Seblat landscape, particularly in Kerinci and Merangin Districts. The extent of the damage and casualties is only just becoming apparent.

For example, Renah Kemumu, a remote and isolated village within the national park in Merangin District, has lost 98 houses (approx 80%) and 30 injured people. FFI local partners Lembaga Tiga Beradik (L-TB) and Genesis are now coordinating the distribution of local government aid in the area, in partnership with KSNP and Forestry Department staff.  However the challenges they are facing are considerable, with the road to Renah Kemumu currently blocked.

Eko Waskito, Director of L-TB explained via a weak mobile connection this morning “We need to get aid to Renah Kemumu, but the villagers are too traumatised to leave the village to collect it.  We will find a way to get there ourselves.”

Aid is now reaching the affected villages in Kerinci District. FFI and our local partners from the AKAR Network of environmental NGOs are helping to distribute tents from Oxfam and keeping us informed of urgent needs when they arise.

Learn more about our Sumatran tiger programme and other work in the area.