Mark Loughran from Sisters Beach, Australia, is co-owner and manager of the Macaroni’s surf resort on Macaroni bay, which was one of the hardest hit by the tsunami. He has posted a call for donations on the resort’s website to help rebuild and find missing village residents.
The big problem is that the resort was the main source of income for many local people, who were either directly employed by it, or sold coconuts and local crafts to tourists. Now that the resort is closed until further notice, the village economy is basically dead, and locals have no source of income. In addition, many have lost loved ones and all their belongings. It’s going to be very hard to go back to normal.
What I’m trying to do is employ locals to work in cleanup teams, because right now there is a lot of debris everywhere that still needs to be evacuated. I hope we will eventually be able to rebuild the resort, but right now its future is uncertain. We were unfortunately not insured against tsunami damage, because in 2003, when we built the resort, there was no known risk of tsunamis in the area. Then in 2004 came the huge tsunami that ravaged South East Asia, so we decided to build the tall main building in the resort, which was designed to resist tidal waves. I’m so relieved we did, because that’s what saved the lives of the people in the resort. After they felt the earthquake, they immediately thought it might be followed by a tsunami so they rushed to the top floor of the main building. Minutes later, the wave swept through the resort, ravaging everything but leaving that one building standing.
Right now, we’re just trying to face things one day at a time. We’re extremely thankful that our staff and guests are all OK, but the cleanup and reconstruction left to do is huge. Some local NGOs as well as the Indonesian navy have come to the affected areas to help, but for now they are mostly providing food, supplies and emergency shelter to refugees. The long-term reconstruction effort will take a while.”
Beach house on Sikakap island after the Tsunami. Posted on Facebook by Rizal Dhailis.
Aerial photographs taken by the Indonesian government show that the wave penetrated deep into the shore, sometimes as far as 300 metres.