Deadly Earthquake Strikes “Our” Padang

A magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurred today about 30 miles WNW of Padang, a city of 900,000 and the capital city of the Indonesian state of West Sumatra. According to the USGS, all structures in Padang that were not built to be earthquake resistant—which most are not—suffered heavy damage.

We have grown close to the people and ever more concerned about the risk with which they live.

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This event affects us at GHI particularly powerfully, because we have been visiting and working in Padang for more than four years now, attempting to help the city to prepare for the earthquake and tsunami that recent earth science research has made terribly clear that Padang must expect. Over this period, we have grown close to the people and ever more concerned about the risk with which they live. Our team, including some Stanford University students, returned from Padang just last month, after spending the summer researching how best to contribute to the construction of much needed tsunami shelters. This photo  shows some of the children who attend a school that our team inspected.

Padang students greet GHI staff during visit.

If anything good can be said about this disaster it is that the event was so deep that it did not trigger the long-expected tsunami. On the other hand, this event probably did not relieve stress on that portion of the fault that can—and eventually will—generate a tsunami. Thus, Padang must still count on having a large tsunami in its future.


To see photos posted by people in Padang, please visit Padang photos.


If you would like to help GHI help the people of Padang, click on Donate. Choose the payment method (phone, mail or PayPal) that is most convenient for you. At the bottom of the Donate page, in the field Donate in Honor, or in Memory of, please direct your donation towards one of two activities:


  1. Tsunami and earthquake preparedness

  2. Earthquake recovery


All funds marked “Preparedness” will be used by GHI for our continued work to help Padang prepare for future earthquakes and tsunamis. All funds marked “Recovery” will be sent to KOGAMI, a nonprofit organization in Padang that we know and trust, and will be used by them for recovery activities. All donations to GHI are tax deductible.