Banyak, indonesia 2005
Banyak is a chain of islands north of Nias off the coast of Sumatra. The island sunk up to a meter into the ocean following the Nias earthquake of 2005. Many of the coastal homes were underwater and a number of their fresh water wells had been destroyed by the sea water. A team from Safe Harbor and Parakletos International (CC Costa Mesa) responded with rice, baby formula, other food items, and equipment for building water holding systems. The locals told us stories of the intensity of the earthquake and then the feeling that they were falling. They then told us the ocean got so hot they couldn't step in it. This story was confirmed by the inhabitants of a couple of islands we visited. On one of our inter-island trips we did some snorkeling to check on the status of the reefs. To our surprise we found the reefs were not only physically damaged, most likely do to the earthquake, but the coral was all dead. This may have been do to a sudden rise in water temperature, just as the locals had described. This also confirmed reports that the fish and animals, the islanders relied on for existence, were no longer there. The island was home to a Christian village and a Muslim village. One day we visited the Muslim village to check on their welfare. They, like the village we were staying in, were very short of food and drinking water and received us into their homes with open arms. After we left, the Christians we had delivered the supplies to, in an act of Christ-like charity, shard their supplies with the Muslim community.