PADANG, Oct 20 — The occurrence of any prominent natural disaster often prompts the almost immediate rush to provide images of devastation, carnage, anguish, and grief.
These are the most obvious responses, and sought-after records of such events. The recent major earthquake in West Sumatra was no different.
The human condition, however, clearly extends beyond a morbid fascination with death and injury and destruction of livelihoods and homes. Hope for renewal, and an in-built optimism form crucial parts of the human coping mechanism, and as these intangibles manifest in a multitude of forms, so too do their catalysts and results.
In Padang Pariaman, a regency north of the epicentre of the September 30 earthquake, scores of kampungs (korong in the local language) were flattened either partially or completely.
While the attention of the world has been focused on Padang, the city closest to the epicentre, the people of the rice fields and coconut plantations at the foothills of twin volcanoes continue to conduct their lives, starting to rebuild and revitalise while their city cousins await the delivery of heavy machinery to clear their debris. Children continue to play, and parents carry on working. The family stays intact, except for when claimed by death.
These images were made possible through the involvement of Mercy Malaysia, who were responsible for the deployment of an emergency medical and relief team barely two days after the earthquakes.
From the Pariaman district hospital as their base and where Mercy Malaysia conducted emergency medical operations, mobile clinics were despatched to affected “kecematan” (sub-districts) and hygiene packs distributed. Read more...