Bengkulu quake update, 2pm 15 Sept.

Stuck in Jakarta airport because Thai Airlines TG 434 is delayed. The engineers are trying to find a fault so nothing to do but to get on the computer with my HSDPA (Unspun loves the 3G device!) modem and blog. Charles Ham of Hope just sent a report of conditions on the ground and some photos. Unspun thinks Charles’s reports provide a rare glimpse into the everyday lives of aid workers and conditions on the ground. Here they are:

Team stayed at a resident’s porch on Sept 13 evening in Ketahun, showered at a water source in palm plantation and treated several patients who came from surrounding villages after hearing a doctor was there. The team treated 50 people from the night before and in the morning of Sept 14.

In the journey to Muko Muko , team decided to cancel the trip and to focus on the North Bengkulu District. Many other help was starting to directs to Muko Muko, and may pass by North Bengkulu District. The District Administrator of 400,000 population confirmed that no help has arrived.


He personally buy instant noodles and tents for people. Team visited the Arga Makmur hospital , provide medicine and decide to move to other areas as the hospital is under control, except that they need a surgeon for patients waiting for procedures. The next morning the hospital director called team to ask for blankets for patients and raincoats for nurse who are managing the hospital under the tents while rain keeps pouring. 100 blankets and raincoats should arrive by lunch time today. After meeting the Vice Governor again last night, it was clear that much help is still needed, despite the Indonesian Vice President stating that the government is capable of handling the situation.


This morning, team is continuing the assessment and aid, while team leader, Charles Ham, went by air with small aircraft from US Embassy to assess the damages in the surrounding Mentawai islands and Padang, West Sumatera Province.


Please pray that aid will be delivered to the people living in tents,
scared, cold and traumatized soon, and that they will be strong to help
each other facing this time of turbulence of their lives.bengkulu-q.jpg

Earlier at noon: This is a sms update from Hope’s Charles Ham, who is on the ground helping victims of the Benglulu earthquake:

Yesterday team Hope treated 50 patients in lais and ketahun, distributed medicine to RSUD Arga Makmur.

Today tem to distribute blankets and raincoats to same hospital that has been rained down last night with patients in tents. I am flying above Padang, Enggano and mentawai island with a smaller plane to see the situation.

(Note: Unspun will be traveling and may not post updates for the next three or four days).

The wisdom of society rags

Unlike the unkind, Unspun is not snoooty and sneer at society magazines as vacuous watch catalogues padded with shallow articles and pictures of the great, the good, the washed  and the beautiful.

Unspun thinks that if we look hard enough we can find meaningful messages and great insights between the clothes, handbags, shoes and watch advertisements that mortals like us cannot afford.

Take for example the latest edition of Registry Indonesia, now on to its 7th issue and turn to the publisher’s message. The publisher and editor-in-chief is Setiawan Sudjie and his message to his readers this month is an erudite exposition of Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs:setiwan.jpg

“Life has been believed to be evolved billions of years years ago from infinitesimal forms of utter simplicity developing into incomprehensible structures of sophistication. Existences depended on rudimentary designs on plain food and clothing transforming through the eons of voluminous time into needs of enhanced complexity. Human desires progressed from basic requirements on to the needs of the body, mind and emotion. The body requires comfortable and durable attire. The mind mandated knowledge and quest for emotions, commanded gratification of sociality and acknowledgment.

 Today, mankind does not live on bread and water alone but exists on an unyielding pursuit of utter contentment through acquisitions f luxurious goods and lifestyles.

 Possess this knowledge through Registry Indonesia’s 2007 September edition”

Oscar Wilde said that anything mysterious has a chance of being profound. By his reckoning these couple of paragraphs has the potential to enlighten half of humanity, at least among the washed and the pretentious.

I wonder how bloggers like Jakartass, who obviously has a love for the English language and can spell polysyllabic words, and understand them, without looking up the dictionary (like Unspun) would make of this?

Latest photos from Bengkulu after quake

Unspun has just received these photos from HOPE’s Charles Ham who is in Bengkulu with volunteers to help with the victims of the quake. For Charles’s man-in-the-scene update report at 8.16 pm today see here.





Another earthquake in Sumatra

This latest one is in Mentawai and the USGS report is clipped below

clipped from

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 7.8
  • Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 23:49:01 UTC
  • Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 06:49:01 AM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 2.526�S, 100.964�E
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 185 km (115 miles) SSE of Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia
200 km (125 miles) NW of Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia
530 km (330 miles) SW of SINGAPORE
755 km (470 miles) WNW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 13.3 km (8.3 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters Nst=137, Nph=137, Dmin=>999 km, Rmss=1.32 sec, Gp= 61�,
M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8
Event ID us2007hec6

  blog it

Update of the Bengkulu earthquake

Update 8.16pm – SMS from HOPE’s Charles Ham: 

Bengkulu city is OK, but Lais and Ketahun (northern Bengkulu district) that HOPE team wento to are badly damaged. No electricity, assistance or coordination at all. Communities help each other in this challenging time. Doctor is still treating patients this evening in Ketahun. tx


Friends from Singapore and Malaysia were inquiring with some concern last night if Unspun and other Jakartans were OK because the Bengkulu earthquake was felt at least in Singapore where not a few suits were seen scrambling to the streets in Raffles Square.

The earth did not move for Unspun and his colleagues though, probably Unspun was in a cab muttering obscenities at the worsening traffic in Jakarta.

This morning, however, Unspun received an e-mail update from Hope Indonesia’s boss Charles Ham and here are the details:

Updates on Bengkulu Earthquake

– Ministry of Social Welfare officially reported 2 dead ( earlier report 7
dead, 17 injured). Need of medical staffs are great.

– HOPE worldwide is sending a disaster relief team scheduled to arrive in
Bengkulu at 12.00pm Sept 13, 2007 bringing aid and medicines

– Additional aid of 5,000 lbs are being mobilized consists of medicine,
hygiene kits, and bladder tank.

– The President of Indonesia has declared emergency and asked his
subordinates to take actions.

– USGS has revised the earthquake magnitude to 8.2 Richter scale

– Five aftershocks above 5 Richter scale continue to take place,

– The second tsunami warning was issued after the 6.0 Richter aftershock at
21:40pm and canceled at 22.47pm

Rusmin, resident of Bengkulu described through his mobile phone “People
panic and are afraid to enter their houses. It is still dark so, we do not
know if our friends or family are still alive or not””

For more Information:
Charles M. Ham, Country Director
HOPE worldwide – Indonesia
Gedung Putera Lt 7, Jl. Gunung Sahari 39, Jakarta 10720 – Indonesia
Telp: 62-21-600-9091, Fax: 62-21-601-0570
Website: Http://
Cell: 62-816-183-4574

Muscial chairs at Jakarta’s English-language publications

Unspun‘s verified the story of the Jakarta Post losing a senior editor (see here). The said editor, an expat chap who has been in Indonesia and the Post for many years is taking up a position as an editor in a high society magazine.

In the meantime a young woman, said to be an expert on hangover cures, is leaving her job as editor of a hospitality/tourism/lifestyle magazine that covers Jakarta and Java to join the Post. It is not known who will replace her or where the existing editor of the high society magazine will go after reaching, so to speak, a peak in his career.

More on funny logic: Adam Air strikes again

Adam Air corporate communications head Danke Dradjat on why customers are coming back to Adam Air in spite of how they fouled up over their air crash earlier this year:

“There wasn’t any special campaign to get the passengers back. We only emphasized the fact that our aircraft were maintained and serviced by the same technicians as Garuda Indonesia.”

And it gets better:

“Well, eventually people were able to accept the fact that it was an unexpected tragedy, after all, especially since accidents have also affected major carriers.”

Man, what do they smoke at Adam Air?