'I almost died': Quake video shows devastation

DEWI Holzer says she almost died twice when a 7 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Lombok on the evening of August 5.

The earthquake has left 387,000 people homeless and a death toll now at 480 but likely to climb into the thousands as more collapsed buildings were searched.

Now reunited with her family on the Sunshine Coast, Dewi was on the Lombok tourist island of Gili Trawangan when the earthquake struck.

As she ran from her room the reception building of the resort collapsed in front of her. On the main island of Lombok the home and resort she and her husband Garth built sustained considerable damage, but nothing like that which reduced many structures to rubble.

Fearing a tsunami Dewi joined 2000 other people in a mad dash to high ground, spending the night in the open before returning to the beach where more than 5000 tourists and local sought evacuation to Bali.

She eventually made it back to Lombok and her village of Kerandangan where she found 1100 people sheltering under tarpaulins with neither water or sanitation.

Dewi Holzer survived the Lombok earthquake and is now helping with the recovery with the help of her husband Garth.
Dewi Holzer survived the Lombok earthquake and is now helping with the recovery with the help of her husband Garth. John McCutcheon

Across the island 136,888 people have been left injured.

Fortunately Dewi's husband Garth and their two children Devina, 15, and Aliikai, 11, had left ahead of her to explore options for their further high school education on the Sunshine Coast.

Garth, who grew up in Maroochydore where he built a name as a builder and a serious big wave surfer, plans to return to Lombok in the next few days to assess damage to their properties and to start repairs.

 

Dewi has helped form Rebuild Lombok, which aims to use her village as a prototype to rebuild a more sustainable community with stronger structures, waste to energy technology, water purification systems and improved sanitation and environmental stewardship.

"Our whole future is there," Garth said. "Hopefully we can help turn a significant negative into a positive."

Rebuild Lombok has linked with a number of foundations including AgungSiaga, Bank Sampah, Fiona Unity foundation, Lombok Forgotten Children, Pituq Foundation, BAWA Bali, Nusa Sentara and Finland waste to energy company Nocart.

John Harding who established the world's first environmentally sustainable education facility, the Green School in Ubud, has also offered his expertise.

Before leaving she set up a volunteer camp at their home, Villa Tomassi, and helped set up water filtration systems in five villages.

"There's no toilets or showers and water is a big problem," she said. "The damage starts from Senggigi to North Lombok with 70 per cent of all structures destroyed," Dewi said.

"There has been looting, cars and food trucks are being stopped and it's not safe at night even in Senggigi.

"In my village we were working together to protect each other.

"It will be a long process of recovery. We've set up Rebuild Lombok but the rainy season is coming and there will be a big disease risk."

She said the government was doing as much as it could and was doing really well to get resources on the ground.

Garth said the looming problem was disease with no water for people to wash their hands. He said the rainy season would increase the incidence of typhoid, cholera and dengue fever if issues of sanitation and hygiene could not be adequately and quickly addressed.

Former South Australian Attorney General and Federal Minister for Employment and Education Peter Duncan built an hotel in Senggigi 15 years ago.

It survived the damage because he had used an Australian engineer to design the structure to hold its roof top swimming pool.

Mr Duncan praised the immediate response from the Indonesian Government saying two days after the quake he had counted 40 ambulances with number plates from the central Javanese city of Lombok pass his front door.

To get there they had crossed two islands and the Lombok Strait.

Mr Duncan said the future at this point remained unknown with the potential for after shocks still to come.

"The government has offered $AUD5000 per home to help rebuild which will help a lot," he said.

"But people have lost jobs in their thousands.

"The next six to nine to 12 months will be difficult as it slips off the media radar.

"Looting is occurring but it's not a serious problem. Nobody is starving."

He described being in the once bustling tourist town as weird.

"It's dead quiet," Mr Duncan said. "I've just been down to the beach and its a beautiful sunny day.

"The quicker people can return as tourists the sooner things can be restored to normal. Lombok heavily relies on tourism. All the decent jobs are in tourism. Outside that it's subsistence farming."

But destruction is everywhere, bodies lay still waiting discovery, hundreds of thousands remain homeless, the injured await treatment and tourists - the engine of the island's economy - may be some time in coming back.

To help the recovery go to www.https://startsomegood.com/rebuild-lombok

The Rebuild Lombok website www.rebuildlombok.com will be activated in the coming days.

www.rebuildlombok.com

www.https://startsomegood.com/rebuild-lombok