Lombok, in Indonesia has been in the news a lot this week, and for something no one ever wants to hear. The magnitude 6.9 earthquake that hit, alongside a smaller (but still huge) one and after-shook has turned lives upside down. There are tons of news stories and social media posts on what happened and the devastation it left, but we are here to concentrate on the positives, and to celebrate and honour the scuba dive community who have literally dropped everything to provide aid and help for locals who have lost homes.
We always knew the scuba dive community had that special spark about it, but how the community over in Lombok have acted and responded is not only admirable but heartwarming. Here we celebrate those making a difference.
Throughout this article we will be sharing multiple GoFundMe pages where you can donate to help everyone on the ground right now rebuild homes and lives. It is imperative we don't stop donating and spreading awareness.
For news and pictures on the actual earthquake please visit here, we are dedicating this article to the scuba dive communities efforts and tireless love and support to islands they call home.
A scuba community like no other
The Gili Islands are famed for one of Asia's top scuba diving hotspots - many a backpacker and tourist alike visit these beautiful islands in search of their first dip into the underwater world, or a continued education in the industry they've already become addicted to. This also reverts the hardcore scuba addicts into instructors or higher seeing them ditch their desk jobs for their scuba gear and work full time on the Gili islands.
And don't we just know it. Girls that Scuba hosts their annual all girls dive day in Gili Trawangan each year and many of our staff and moderators call the Gili islands their home. It's truly a place close to our hearts.
Finding people with similar passions and goals as you quickly form close friendships and comradery making friends into family in just a short time while on the Gili Islands.
So, when the earthquake hit, these dive families did what they knew best and stuck together at a time of need. They quickly started gathering supplies and creating pages online to raise funds to continue doing so. Within just a few hours thousands of dollars were raised through multiple GoFundMe pages set up by scuba divers.
Above you can see staff from Manta Dive Gili T sending water and other supplies to Lombok with the money raised from their campaigns.
There are a lot of dive centres in the Gili Islands but what has been encouraging to watch and learn is how they have come together to work side-by-side, all putting business on hold, offering customers full refunds and working on what really matters.
The Blue Marlin team have also set up a GoFundMe page to help get running water and electricity back in Lombok- which is only hours to days away at this point. PLEASE DONATE HERE.
"We will come stronger out of this and the island will be even better than it was. Why are we staying? That is the most common question from people leaving to Bali. We all have different reasons, but the most simple answer is that we just can’t imagine going to any other place in the world. That is why we all decided to be here, work hard every day, do what we can do and not give up on what is left. Without us here there would be no push to bring this island back to life." - statement from Laura Kazimierska, a GTS currently on Gili T.
#gilistrong *to donate please see my bio* My friends @samuel._.mason and @mansjoel getting fresh water supplies running and rebuilding the island we love. They are among a group of very capable people who are still at home on the island and together are working towards recovery. Our focus is to rebuild he island to give our teams the best chance of supporting their families after the initial crisis is over. For a clearer view of what they are doing please see this link http://divemagazine.co.uk/travel/8194-gili-trawangan-after-the-earthquake-2 📸 @alfredminnaarphotography (On the ground in Gili T) #lombok #earthquake #rebuild
Social Media for Social Impact
Social media is our best friend and own worst enemy, but in times like this it is the most influential tool we all have. Many scuba divers have gained themselves big following online sharing their underwater adventures and findings, with a loyal fanbase hanging on to their every word.
Through social media divers across the islands have managed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and have been able to share - almost live - where those donations have been going. Setting up specific hashtags and using their reach to raise awareness.
What's next for Lombok?
We want to stress how much we need your help and donations. As mainstream media coverage slows down on the aftermath there is still so much that needs to be done. Please keep donating.
We've spoken about the Gili islands a lot right? Here's why:
Restoring the Gilis will rebuild North Lombok. Gili tourism supports almost every family in North Lombok - whether they are the builders who work on projects, resort staff, dive guides, boat drivers, taxi & bus drivers or people who ship supplies to the Gilis. All of these people need the Gilis up and running as soon as possible. The jobs created through the Gilis' tourism support whole families in North Lombok. We need to help our people rebuild their lives, feed their family and send their kids to school.
"Everything is starting to look much better, we have some of our staff coming back and electricity is working in few places also there is more military and police to protect the island.The spirits are very high we are all so positive that everything is gonna come back to normal. It’s not even been a week and it feels like month." - Laura Kazi one of the only females to not evacuate Gili T to stay and help.
The Gili's will be back to strength in no time, the phenomenal process happening now is rebuilding lives and homes and lifting up community spirit. It is important for us as divers to keep visiting the Gili islands as a scuba destination. An earthquake can do a lot of damage but tourists staying away for months can do a lot more damage - staff need jobs to continue living their lives.
How can you help?
If you are not on the ground in Lombok you can donate here:
While there are many people to think about and thank during this time we can't help put applaud the amazing support of the scuba dive community in Lombok, Gili's and Bali. Watching and hearing from you warms our hearts and souls. Girls that Scuba will be back diving in Lombok in no time and we can't wait to give you all big scuba hugs.
Once again PLEASE keep donating.