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Caught in Indonesia’s tsunami – stories of survival and death | Indonesia News

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South Lampung, Indonesia – The wedding party was in full swing when Andi Karim heard the sounds of fierce waves slamming the shore of his village in western Indonesia.
 
The 32-year-old’s instinct kicked in immediately, prompting him to spring towards his home on the waterfront where his 33-year-old wife Putri Anita and his five-year-old son and three-month-old daughter were sleeping.
 
“When I got inside the house, I saw that the waves had knocked a cupboard on top of my family. My wife was holding it up so they didn’t get crushed,” Karim told Al Jazeera.
 
His family was alive – but trapped. The small plywood cupboard had fallen on their mosquito net, pinning them to the bed.
 
“My wife was holding the cupboard so it didn’t fall on the baby, but she couldn’t get them out from under the net,” Karim said.
 
“I saw in her eyes that she was just waiting to die.”





Karim managed to rescue his family from their house before another violent wave bore down on the village in South Lampung [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

 
Rajabasa village had just been hit by a powerful tsunami that on Saturday night battered the Lampung and Banten provinces on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java, respectively.






Indonesia raises alert, reroutes flights around erupting volcano

The huge waves are widely believed to have been triggered by an underwater landslide caused by an eruption from the neighbouring Anak Krakatoa volcano which sits in the Sunda Strait.

At least 430 people have been killed, more than 150 are still missing, and thousands have been displaced.
 
Karim managed to lift the cupboard off his family and get them out of the house as another violent wave bore down on the village in South Lampung.

“By the time we went outside, the water was waist deep,” he said. “If I hadn’t got there in time and been so close, my wife and children would be dead now.”





Coastal areas of Lampung in Sumatra were badly hit by the tsunami and 108 people have died in the province [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

Surging wall of water

On the same night, some two kilometres away in the coastal village of Way Muli, Sabandin Bin Hasimun was at his neighbour’s house.
 
“I heard water rushing up the beach, which was unusual, so I went outside to see what was happening. A second wave came on the horizon and it was so big,” the 38-year-old told Al Jazeera.
 
“My neighbour immediately shouted, ‘It’s a tsunami’.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/afraid-sea-indonesians-seek-shelter-mountains-181226141337627.html

Bin Hasimun immediately started running down the waterfront in the direction of his family home, where his wife, Munajah Binti Nurdin, 31, and their two youngest sons – Muhammad Rifki Al Lapis, two, and Ahmad Dinata Adi Saputra, eight – were all asleep.
 
But he couldn’t make it.
 
“The wave hit me and I went under,” he recalled. “I just curled up in a ball and put my hands over my head.”
 
Bin Hasimun was washed against a low wall next to the main road. He managed to grab hold of it. “That’s what saved me being swept out to sea,” he said.
 
When the water subsided and his gaze turned towards his house, he saw that it had completely disappeared – gone by the surging wall of water.
 
“I thought another wave would come so I ran away,” said Bin Hasimun, who eventually managed to scramble to higher ground.





Sabandin Bin Hasimun lost his wife and two-year-old son when the tsunami destroyed their home [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

 
The next morning, the body of his two-year-old son was found on the beach. It took until Tuesday for his wife’s remains to be recovered at Kunjir village, around a kilometre away.
 
Remarkably, his eight-year-old son had woken up by the sound of the sea and fled the home before the waves came. “He took the initiative to save his own life,” said Bin Hasimun.
 
His eldest son, 11-year-old Ahmad Dwi Hadi Saputra, was at a football camp in the provincial capital of Bandar Lampung when the tsunami hit and is now being looked after by his football coach. He has yet to be told that his mother and youngest brother perished in the deadly waves.

Infrastructure risks

Out of the 108 tsunami victims in South Lampung, 22 lived in Way Muli.

Dr. Eddie Dempsey, a lecturer in structural geology at the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Hull told Al Jazeera that the waves and the water are in fact the least hazardous part of tsunamis.

“Tsunamis really are terrible events… The most dangerous part is the debris and sediment picked up by the wave which is churned around like in a cement mixer,” Dempsey said.






Indonesia raises alert, reroutes flights around erupting volcano

“In addition to that, fallen electricity cables and burning fuel add to the hazards. As with most geohazards, most of the risks actually come from the infrastructure we have built around ourselves.”
 
Rescuers are continuing to find bodies along the coastlines of Lampung and Banten and the burial process is ongoing.

Helicopters, drones and sniffer dogs have also been deployed to find survivors and victims in remote areas, as recovery teams scramble to distribute much-needed aid to those sheltering in mountainous makeshift camps amid official warnings to stay away from the coast due to the prospect of the rumbling Anak Krakatoa causing another tsunami.

On Wednesday, Bin Hasimun attended his local mosque where he was comforted by friends as paramedics unloaded the body of his wife on a stretcher so that local residents could say prayers ahead of her burial.





Sabandin Bin Hasimun’s wife Munajah was brought to the local mosque for a burial on Wednesday [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

 
Her body, almost unrecognisable due to decomposition caused by the water, had to be wrapped first in a traditional white Muslim funeral shroud and then in a plastic body bag to avoid it leaking. The prayers had to be cut short as the smell of death in the mosque was overwhelming and caused members of the crowd to cough.

Bin Hasimun was urged by concerned friends not to attend the burial for fear that it would be too upsetting.
 
Having lost his wife of 13 years, he says he’s feeling “lost”. For the moment, he is staying with family friends on higher ground in Way Muli, but is too shocked to know what to do next.
 
“I’ve no idea where we’re going to live,” he said. “I just can’t picture the future.” 

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When Ontario declared a COVID-19 health emergency last spring, the first instinct of Ottawa entrepreneur Peter O’Blenis was to preserve cash.

“We basically stopped our discretionary spending,” said O’Blenis, the co-founder and CEO of Evidence Partners, which makes software for accelerating the review of scientific and medical literature, using artificial intelligence. “We cut investments in things meant to help us grow.”

It was a defensive posture born of experience. O’Blenis had 12 years earlier nearly been crushed by the global financial crisis. Another looked to be on the way.

In 2008, O’Blenis and his colleagues, Jonathan Barker and Ian Stefanison, hit a brick wall with their first venture, TrialStat, which helped hospitals manage patients’ electronic data. While TrialStat had secured $5.5 million in venture financing just a couple of years earlier, the founders had burned through most of it during a rapid expansion. When the financial world collapsed, so did their firm.

The trio played things far more conservatively with Evidence Partners, which has relied almost exclusively on customer revenues to finance expansion.

The caution proved unnecessary. Like so many other businesses, O’Blenis underestimated the government’s willingness to keep the economy afloat with easy money. Nor did he anticipate that COVID-19 would prove a significant catalyst for the firm’s revenues so soon.

Evidence Partners is hardly the only local firm with technology particularly suited for the war against COVID-19. Spartan Bioscience and DNA Genotek adapted existing products to create technology for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Ottawa-based units of Abbott Laboratories and Siemens Healthineers make portable blood analyzers that diagnose patients afflicted by the virus.

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Shepherds of Good Hope wants to expand ByWard Market operation with eight-storey housing complex

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The Shepherds of Good Hope plans to build an eight-storey building near its current shelter for the homeless in the ByWard Market that would include supportive housing for up to 48 people, a soup kitchen and a drop-in centre.

The organization says it wants to be part of the solution to the housing crisis that has fuelled a rise in homelessness in Ottawa.

People would be moved out of the emergency shelters and into their own tiny apartments in the complex, which would include a communal dining hall and staff available to help with mental health, addiction and medical problems, said Caroline Cox, senior manager of communications for the Shepherds.

Some residents in the neighbourhood are opposed, saying services for the homeless and vulnerable should not be concentrated in one area of the city.

“I was flabbergasted,” said homeowner Brian Nolan, who lives one block from the development proposed for 216 Murray St., where currently a one-story building houses offices for the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Nolan said that, in the 15 years he’s lived in the area, it has become increasingly unsafe, with home and car thefts, drug dealing, loitering, aggressive and erratic behaviour, urinating, defecating and vomiting on sidewalks and yards and sexual acts conducted in public on his dead-end street. Before he lets his son play basketball in the yard, he checks the ground for needles and his home security camera to see who is nearby.

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Carleton University Hosts the Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City

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evehe Carleton University Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City given by Leslie Kern launches Ottawa Architecture Week. Urban geographer, author and academic, Kern will discuss how the pandemic has highlighted long-standing inequalities in the design, use and inclusivity of urban spaces. The talk will share some of the core principles behind a feminist urban vision to inform a wider vision of justice, equity and sustainability.

When
: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Registration: https://alumni.carleton.ca/event-registration-architecture-forum-series-with-leslie-kern-2/.

About the Speaker

Kern holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from York University. She is currently an associate professor of Geography and Environment and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University.

Kern is the author of two books on gender and cities, including Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World (Verso). The book discusses how our cities have failed in terms of fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, the joy and perils of being alone, and also imagines what they could become.

Kern argues, “The pandemic has shown us that society can be radically reorganized if necessary. Let’s carry that lesson into creating the non-sexist city.”

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