Oyster World Rally Fleet Plans Relief Work After Lombok Earthquake
Oyster World Rally sailors are determined to contribute to relief efforts after Sunday’s Lombok earthquake, which left parts of the island shattered and more than 156,000 people moved to temporary shelters after extensive damage to their homes. The World Rally fleet was in Indonesia at the time with most of the yachts free-cruising around the region and fortunately avoided the disaster. Now, the Oyster yachts are planning to make their way towards Lombok, to get involved with disaster relief wherever possible and prepare their vessels for the next stage of the journey.
Regine Watts, our Oyster World Rally Coordinator, flew into Lombok just when the earthquake was felt at the airport. She is now staying at Marina Del Ray on Gili Gede in the South East, which was not really affected, the main damage occurring in the North East of the island. However, she describes the shock amongst the fleet, saying: “Everyone heard about it, and was worried about what would happen next. A tsunami warning was in place following the earthquake, but thankfully this didn’t occur.”
Now, she is working hard to see how Oyster can get involved with the disaster relief efforts. Regine said: “It’s difficult because you want to help, you want to work with an organisation which is non-corrupt, doing relief work that you know will help the people that need it.” Another concern is that with no local contacts, none of the fleet speaking Indonesian and no way of finding out which organisations are trustworthy, the Oyster fleet could be more of a hindrance than help.
Despite this, we are constantly on the lookout for ways we can help, be it food, clothes and money donations or medical support from the qualified doctor and nurse in the fleet. “Wherever we go on the rally, in Vanuatu for instance the doctor within the fleet has found a village with a nurse station and has run clinics to help the local people, and I know Lombok will be no different. It’s just a question of finding someone to help us coordinate this aid,” said Regine. Whilst the sailors are currently exploring wider Indonesia, their arrival back in Lombok should see them balancing preparing the yachts for the next leg of the journey with disaster relief. So far, most of what Regine has been doing is consoling people and providing moral support. “When I arrived in Lombok all I could do was hug the girls at the airport and try to reassure them as they were so worried… It was heartbreaking,” she said.
The disaster means that most of the island’s resources have been allocated to the people who need them most; local people requiring food and shelter after their land was ruined. To avoid putting any more strain on these resources, Regine has been working with rally participants and the marina to find external goods that can be shipped or flown in. Having now tracked down an online company who will deliver to Gili Gede, she hopes to utilise them to provision the fleet for the next leg of their journey.