Surfers Provide Aid, Disaster Recovery in Cross-Cultural Partnership

For years, hard-core surfers have chartered trips to the Mentawi Islands of Indonesia, chasing the perfect wave. In 1999, when Dr. Dave Jenkins visited, he recognized not only the world-class surfing but also the suffering of the local people, who were dying of malaria and other preventable diseases.

In 2000, Jenkins founded SurfAid International, a non-profit organization dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering through community-based health programs. The organization is “firmly focused on disaster recovery,” according to this article at ReliefWeb.
The group’s most recent efforts have focused on emergency response to a 20-foot tsunami that struck the islands on Oct. 25 and killed at least 447 people, displacing some 15,000 others.
This tsunami is just the latest in a string of local disasters to which SurfAid has responded with shelter, food and hygiene kits. The group has already mapped out a two-part relief strategy that will continue through October 2011 and include psychosocial support, nutrition and emergency preparedness training for the Mentawi people.

"We have been active in the Mentawai for the past 10 years, and we plan to continue to work in the Mentawai over the long-term with our programs related to community health and well-being and disaster risk reduction,” says SurfAid ER director Alan Rogerson.

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