Tsunami Causes Need for Restoration on Biak Island

September 2017

Eden Reforestation Projects is excited to be taking steps towards its new project sites in Indonesia. Eden’s founder, Steve Fitch, is currently on Biak Island, Papua, Indonesia conversing with locals and exploring the island for potential project sites.

Biak Island is a beautiful island hit by great tragedy. On February 17th, 1996, the coastal communities of Biak Island woke up to a literal jolt. A massive earthquake with a magnitude of 8.2 struck Biak. The epicenter of the quake was seemingly far enough away for Biak to be safe from any following effects, but sadly that was not the case.

Several hours later, Biak was hit by a subsequent tsunami that reached 7 meters (23 feet) high. 160 people were reported dead, 423 were injured, and 5,090 were left homeless. The coastal zones of Biak were laid waste by the wave’s impact. Twenty-one years later, you can still see the effect. Large piles of tree trunks can be found lying on the shore, in the shallows, and even deep underwater.

In the coming months, Eden Reforestation Projects will open the new restoration projects of Indonesia; one of the likely projects sites will be Biak Island. The locals and the forests are still recovering from the 1996 tsunami. The small coastal mangrove buffers were hit hard. Eden is now working on plans to restore the mangroves impacted by the tsunami and to restore the tropical forests cut down for timber and slash-and-burn agriculture. There are also plans to educate school-aged children on the importance of their beautiful environment.

 

Look forward to future updates on Eden’s Indonesian project sites!