The earthquake that hit yesterday off the coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia was a reminder of the importance of communities being prepared for natural disasters.
Countries throughout Asia, a region prone to natural disasters, used early warning systems to update communities when the 8.6 magnitude earthquake hit west of Banda Aceh.
Last night, Billy Sumuan, Humanitarian and Emergencies director for World Vision Indonesia, said: “We have been in touch with our project staff in Aceh and they reported that everyone was running for higher ground. People in Aceh remember the tsunami like it was yesterday. It has been burned into the common mindset because so many people lost loved ones and because whole towns were literally wiped off the face of the earth. No one who lived through that takes these warnings lightly.”
India, Indonesia and Thailand initially issued tsunami warnings. Locals assisted tourists to follow warnings and signage to get to higher ground.
As part of its Disaster Risk Reduction work, World Vision engages with communities in areas prone to natural disasters, preparing them for events such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis.
World Vision staff on standby
World Vision has a permanent team of emergency responders ready to deploy not just in Indonesia but in all nations at-risk from natural disasters, as well as a humanitarian and emergencies operating base in Singapore and other global hubs.
“We have teams on standby across those countries which have so far been impacted or were at threat of tsunami damage," said Geoff Shepherd, World Vision Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director, Asia Pacific, last night following the earthquake. "Communities were alerted and it is our priority to secure the safety of children and the vulnerable.”
Emergency relief items pre-positioned
World Vision works closely with local authorities, the government, the United Nations and other non-government organisations to determine the needs after any major catastrophe. These include providing relief items such as tents, kitchen sets, food and water. Humanitarian workers, including logistics and procurement staff, are ready to be deployed if natural disasters impact communities.
How you can help
Support for the Emergency & Preparedness Fund enables World Vision to prepare for emergencies by pre-stocking and positioning life-saving supplies, as well as ensuring trained staff are available to be on the scene quickly to respond to emergencies.
Find out more about our Emergency & Preparedness Fund or donate now.