More than 2,000 residents, tourists and workers are being evacuated from the popular Indonesian diving resort of Gili Trawangan after an earthquake on Sunday 5 August caused extensive damage to the region. The 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the nearby island of Lombok, followed by a succession of powerful aftershocks over the next few days, many nearly as strong as the original earthquake. Current reports claim that anywhere from 226 to 381 people have died as a result. The quake also caused damage to Bali nearly 100 miles away.
Gili Trawangan is one of the three Gili islands located just off the northwest tip of Lombok, Indonesia. ‘Gili T’ (as it’s known) is the largest and most visited of the three and is popular with divers and party-goers. Gili Air is located closest to Lombok, while Gili Meno is a popular getaway for couples.
A tweet from the head of the Disaster Mitigation Agency in Indonesia said 1,000 foreign tourists were being evacuated from the islands. ‘Some of them are hurt and are in shock,’ I Nyoman Sidakarya told a local television station. ‘We cannot evacuate all of them all at once because we don’t have enough capacity on the boats,’ Muhammad Faozal, of West Nusa Tenggara’s tourism agency, told AFP.
Alfie Minnaar, a photographer based at Manta Dive on the island of Gili Trawangan, is a regular correspondent for Geographical’s sister publication, DIVE Magazine. He filed the following photographic report in the days after the original earthquake.
Alfie says that a group of 30 dive professionals have remained on the islands to help with the clean-up operation. The dive workers from Manta Dive, Trawangan Dive, Dive Central, Broken Compass, Gili Eco Trust, Gili Fit, Gili Teak Resort, Gili Freedive and others are being assigned jobs on a daily basis, with many having useful practical skills such as electronics, building and engineering experience. But he added there is a lot of work to be done.
Along with the human inhabitants and visitors to the island, Gili Trawangan is also home to a large number of horses, largely in part to there being no motorised transport to be found. The Gili islands house in the region of 500 horses (technically ponies as they measure under 13 hands in height), and evacuating the animals has also formed a major part of the rescue operation.
A number of the diving centres have set up donation pages to raise funds for their workers – most of the local workers coming from the nearby island of Lombok. Along with the fatalities on Lombok, at least 120,000 are reported to have been left homeless by the quake, while homes and businesses have been extensively destroyed in the northern part of the island.
• Blue Marlin – www.gofundme.com/earthquake-relief-for-blue-marlin
• Dive Central – www.gofundme.com/rebuild-the-dcg-boys-homes
• Trawangan Dive – www.gofundme.com/earthquake-relief-trawangan-dive
• Manta Dive – www.gofundme.com/earthquake-relief-manta-dive-staff?member=568424
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