UPDATE 3rd October - Lombok and the Gili islands are back in full swing. All three Gili's are open and welcoming tourists, South Lombok, which was undamaged by the earthquakes, is still as stunning as ever. There are definitely less crowds about, so now is the time to enjoy some calm beaches and emptier waves to surf. North Lombok is still damaged, and Rinjani will remain closed until April 2019. You can still visit Tetebatu and Benang Stokel Waterfalls for the jungle lovers! (see full blog post here).
Is it Safe?
The most frequent question we've seen asked on countless forums these last few weeks. 'I'm coming to Bali and was going to Lombok but is it safe to go there now?' Ultimately, the entire country lies on the 'Ring of Fire', an active belt of earthquake epicentres, volcanoes, and tectonic plate boundaries that stretches for 40,000 km through Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Western coast of North and South America, and New Zealand. You could be at risk of an earthquake not only in Bali, but throughout any of these areas. You're also at risk when you jump on a scooter, a plane, a boat, trek a mountain, go swimming... it really is all about individual choice and whether the risk outweighs the experience for you. In our minds, it's a risk we're willing to take to live on a gorgeous island and surf everyday!
South Lombok - Fortunately the South of the island - Kuta, Sekotong, South West Gili's - were unaffected. The community has been rallying around to raise funds, and distribute aid to their families and friends in the North. Hotels, homestays, bars, restaurants and tour providers are still open for business, and need the support of tourism now more than ever. There are plenty of activities still to enjoy, such as surfing, snorkelling, kitesurfing, diving, discovering beaches and nearby waterfalls.
Sengiggi - Sengiggi suffered damage to infrastructure, and some businesses are closed temporarily to assess and repair damage, but many hotels and restaurants have reopened.
North Lombok - The North of Lombok unfortunately suffered immense damage. Thousands and thousands of locals are living out of tents as they try to rebuild their homes. Roads are damaged, making many villages difficult or impossible to get to, and some people are still waiting for aid. Mt Rinjani is closed for the foreseeable future also.
Gili Islands - At the time of the quake, the islands were evacuated, and many buildings were damaged. However, all three Gili's are now open and tourist numbers are starting to increase.
How to Help
There are several amazing organisations and individuals that you can donate to.
Endri Foundation - Lombok Forgotten Children foundation homebase is located at the epicentre of where the earthquakes struck, making this mission a high priority. They have 50 to 100 active LFC EF volunteers and serve North Lombok. Endri knows every village, village leader, govt leaders etc...which helps to coordinate the team quickly and effectively - especially in the places that need it most. Endri is also Red Cross (Red Crescent) CEO for North Lombok Region so they are able to meet the needs across both effectively and they have a long term distribution plan for the funds.
Donate through: https://www.gofundme.com/earthquake-lombok-forgottenchildren
Pelita Foundation - They have done amazing work to distribute supplies, build temporary shelters and schools for those destroyed in the quake.
Donate through https://fundrazr.com/11Nx1f?ref=ab_8k2wL9uou6g8k2wL9uou6g
Pituq Community Foundation - A non-profit charity located in North Lombok which helps less fortunate people to better their lives through sustainable methods such as education, by creating jobs, building houses and by providing the basic daily needs for those who most need it. They have done amazing work the last few years and know how to reach the people who need it most in the forgotten places. Currently they are desperate for funds to distribute basic necessities and rebuild for the victims in their region. Updates available on FB page.
Donate through: https://www.facebook.com/pituqcofoundation/
JMS for Lombok (Jaringan Masyarakat Sipil) - An NGO on ground delivering aid. Jaringan Masyarakat Sipil (JMS) is working with locals from villages most affected and assessing what is needed and providing support in the form of water, blankets, food, baby needs (like nappies) and first aid items. There are many NGO's helping here and they are forming partnerships to divide up the work. They are covering West Lombok, East Lombok, Central Lombok and North Lombok.
Donate through: https://gogetfunding.com/JMSforLombok/
Gili Eco Trust - is an NGO with a focus on environmental conservation restoring coral reefs around the Gilis. They are based on Gili Trawangan and the funds are being used to support those in need, particularly providing medical aid and rebuilding damaged buildings as well as care of the animals on the island (horses, cats, cows and goats).
Paypal account donation:
URGENT ITEMS: Tents, tarps, baby formula, warm clothes, warm blankets, rice and other dry foods, water filters or sterilising tablets (hard to find in Lombok and so much more useful than taking fresh water - it can make their abundant well water drinkable), medicine and medical supplies (non-penicillin antibiotics if possible), sleeping bags, torches, lanterns, headlamps (pref solar or rechargeable or bring batteries), Walkie Talkie sets, rope.
SECONDARY ITEMS: all baby items, solar panel power banks, socks, sanitary towels, diapers, power banks or phone chargers and fuel.
We hope that our home will get back on it's feet soon, but we need the support of tourism, of financial donations, and of accurate press, to ensure the strong and successful future of the island.