Last month, the Indonesian island of Lombok was hit by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. The incident destroyed thousands of homes, with a reported death count of over 500 people.
In response to this catastrophe, the owner of 51m S/Y Dunia Baru, together with a number of superyacht professionals from the region – Indo Yachts, 37 South Yachts and Black Tomato – spent two days delivering vital supplies and aid to those affected by the earthquake. The provisions included blankets, tarpaulins, fuel, rice, fresh water, baby formula and diapers. “You can achieve way more as a team and make even more of a difference,” says Mark Robba, owner of Dunia Baru, discussing the collaboration. “Indo Yachts is one of our local partners and I know Nikko is a great photographer, so I shot him an invite and he immediately accepted. Two days before we were scheduled to go, Fleur Tomlinson, the charter manager for 37 South, advised she would be passing through Bali, she jumped at the chance to join us. Black Tomato read [about our relief trip] on the Dunia Baru Adventures’ Facebook site and offered to help.”
The two-day trip focused on the delivery of the supplies to different villages, many of which had no electricity or power. “The most striking memory of our trip was the people of Lombok. They show extraordinary strength and resilience despite all the hardships they are facing every day. We were greeted by smiling faces and warm appreciation everywhere we went. It was so humbling,” remarks Robba.
“The most striking memory of our trip was the people of Lombok. They show extraordinary strength and resilience despite all the hardships they are facing every day."
Nikko Karki, founder of Indo Yachts, describes the scenes when the team arrived: “We anchored at Medana Bay Marina on the northwest corner of Lombok, about six miles from the Gili Islands. The marina area was ideal for staging supplies and trucks to go out for deliveries. Once we left the marina compound, we started to see the damage.” He adds that the most striking damage from the earthquake is the amount of concrete houses that had collapsed, with campsites constructed under tarpaulin for temporary shelter.
Although the donations from the Dunia Baru trip made a significant impact on the lives of the local people, Karki stresses that there is still a lot of work to be done. “We need to get more supplies to send, more tarps, food and especially baby supplies. They also need funds for trucks and bulldozers to clear the land and figure out a place to dump the rubble; that is a big effort. The government is helping and has set up camps, the military is there helping and also offering assistance for people to rebuild. A few other yachts have volunteered cargo space and the local ferry operators are spending their own time and fuel to deliver supplies. There are some really great organisations with people working around the clock.”
Fleur Tomlinson, 37 South, explains that the region (although still in recovery mode from the impact of the earthquake) remains a destination for tourists. In these circumstances, it is vital for the yachting community to assist the area financially by still visiting, much like in the Caribbean after the hurricanes of 2017. “I would encourage businesses operating in the region to support in any way they can, even if that means simply educating yourself on the situation and continuing to encourage tourism. I think it's important not to scare people off from visiting the area. The island relies heavily on tourism and even areas that have not been affected at all by the quakes are struggling now,” she says.
Tomlinson details that the devastation has caused many to move to different places to find work. “I have spent the last four days in south Lombok, I haven't seen any damage from the quakes or experienced any shaky ground. The real damage here is to the local businesses; streets that were once filled with tourists are empty and already small family restaurants and stores that have been operating for generations are having to 'shut up shop' and move their homes and families to the more profitable island of Bali - and that's if they are lucky. Others are simply struggling through with very limited resources.”
"The real damage here is to the local businesses; streets that were once filled with tourists are empty and already small family restaurants and stores that have been operating for generations are having to 'shut up shop' and move their homes and families to the more profitable island of Bali."
Dunia Baru is based in Indonesia, and has cruised in the region extensively since her launch in 2013. As a result of this, Robba feels a sense of duty when it comes to helping Lombok and the surrounding areas. “As yacht owners, we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our yachts as a platform to help those in need. We travel to remote areas, often to places that are difficult to reach by land, and can offer first-hand aid. Giving back to the areas that we cruise in – places where we regularly make amazing memories, enjoy the natural beauty, meet wonderful communities – is so important. Whether this be through disaster relief at times like this, regular beach clean ups or helping to fund a community project.”
The work of Dunia Baru in reaction to the earthquakes is the epitome of yachting with a conscious. It is encouraging that those who have the means to make a significant impact are doing so. As Robba concludes: “Giving back needs to be a priority for all of us – it genuinely makes the yachting lifestyle all the more fulfilling.”
To support the ongoing rebuild of the region, click here.
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