How to Improve Relief Efforts in Mentawai Islands

On October 25, an earthquake and a resulting tsunami hit Mentawai Islands off the coast of West Sumatra, Indonesia. According to the latest figures from West Sumatra’s disaster management agency, 452 people have been confirmed dead and 76 more still missing.

Strong winds and high waves of up to four meters delayed aid delivery, with some newspapers like The Jakarta Globe reporting that some supplies were pilfered along the way. Yet when the turbulent weather finally receded this week, aid organizations and volunteers had shifted their attention to the ongoing eruptions from Mount Merapi near Yogyakarta instead.

Dorita Setiawan, a researcher at the Columbia University School of Social Work, has been studying disaster recovery and management in Indonesia since the tsunami in Aceh. She gives us her take on the disaster in Mentawai and suggests ways of improving the disaster recovery and management efforts there.

The situation in Mentawai and the difficulties hindering relief efforts.

[audio:|titles=The state of Mentawai Islands]

Two approaches to disaster recovery and why one is better than the other.

[audio:|titles=Two approaches to disaster recovery]

How social workers in Indonesia improve relief efforts by organizing and processing.

[audio:|titles=The role of social workers]

Setiawan advocates reaching out to victims and asking them what they need.

[audio:|titles=Asking the victims what they need]
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