December 29, 2006

Remembering the Tsunami

The earthquake triggered a series of massive tsunamis that spread throughout the Indian Ocean, killing large numbers of people and devastating coastal communities across South and Southeast Asia, including parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. Recent numbers show a total of 229,866 people were lost, including 186,983 dead and 42,883 missing.

The magnitude of the earthquake was originally recorded as 9.0 on the Richter scale, but has since been upgraded to between 9.1 and 9.3 making it the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. The earthquake was also reported to be the longest duration of faulting ever observed, lasting between 500 and 600 seconds, and it was large enough that it caused the entire planet to vibrate at least half an inch.

The plight of the many affected people and countries prompted a widespread humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than $7 billion in humanitarian aid.

Closer to home, the bicycle community rallied, as well. The staff at Advanced Sports – Fuji and SE Bikes – quickly decided to assist the effort. Calling on their shipping vendor, TNT Logistics to help with transportation expenses, Fuji and SE donated 150 mountain bikes to help the relief effort. Adam’s Bicycle World of New Orleans, also jumped aboard by donating gear packs to be used to carry medical supplies to victims in remote areas.

With the assistance of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, all of the bicycles have reached their destination – to health workers, victims and their families in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

The following are excerpts from the speech delivered by Matteo Martignoni, Vice President of the ITDP at the Better Air Quality Conference closing ceremony on December 15, 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia:

Good afternoon distinguished guests and BAQ participants. Having lived through the 1989 Loma Peralta earthquake in California, I cannot imagine the magnitude of devastation of the Asian tsunami.

Our hearts go out to the families who have had to endure this devastation. The only good to come in the aftermath of natural disasters is that human beings pull together in what my Buddhist brother would call “Right Action.”

Fuji Bikes approached ITDP (and subsequently our Indonesian partners INSTRAN) to distribute 150 quality multi-speed bicycles for the relief effort. These bicycles will go to victims families, particularly high school students and health education workers.

“Terima Kasih” (thank you) to Fuji Bikes and TNT Logistics for helping to assist these families as they rebuild their lives.

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