Our experience of the Lombok Earthquake on Gili Air

Image by Begadang Gili Air

I sit here writing this blog from a roadside stool belonging to ‘The Burger Lady’, that tiny tin shed on the main Gili Air strip that forever smells of fried chicken. Despite the 200+ earthquakes, evacuations, looters and wild animals, the local women behind this burger joint have somehow manage to stay stoically open, there girl power quite unmatched.

The Flowers and Fire Yoga team sit across from me planning their next supply run to Lombok. Martin the owner of Pockets and Pints pulls up on his bike for a quick feed. Riding away he reminds us that the pita ovens will be fired up in just a few days. Luke, another local villa owner with a building background walks by on his way to check another local businesses structural soundness. He’s managed to check most businesses on Gili Air in just a few days and is in definite need of a burger. I then wonder down the main strip past Free Dive Flow where Sander, the Oceans5 Dive Shop owner is tucked up on his mattress out by the pool after another long day of rebuilding and reopening. He’s been so busy fixing up his dive shop that he hasn’t had time to mend his own house, still sleeping outside.

It’s been six weeks since a magnitude 7.0 Earthquake hit Lombok and The Gili Islands. Whilst this devastating event really did shake us to the core, our little island community remains closer than ever and life continues – As it always does on The Gilis.

In just a few short weeks we’ve already come so far…

After the major quake hit, The Gili Islands were immediately evacuated. Scared tourists and locals fled back to Lombok, Bali or overseas. Many Gili locals including myself remained on the island with our pets, friends and businesses. We slept together in beach camps under the stars whilst the ground moved beneath our beds. One morning we woke up to the wild cidomo horses, ever so casually wading into the water beyond our camp, going for a swim. For us, this was just another day on the deserted Gili Islands. Although it was an unsettling time with aftershocks occurring daily and a definite eeriness to the place, there was also a rather calming serenity that had fallen over this once bustling tourist hub.

5 days after the quake the electric was miraculously back on. Things then moved pretty quickly from there. The locals began to return, the rubble was cleared and businesses began reopening. There’s been much uncertainty to the current ‘openess’ of The Gilis yet we can 100% confirm that the islands are now well and truly back up and running.

Come have a burger with us again soon and experience all these incredible islands have to offer.

For more information on the businesses that are now fully operational on Gili Air check out gilistrong.org or follow us on facebook.