Update! From Balclutha, with love: Rotary and StIRRRD help Rawa Indah School

Author: Michael Goldsmith

As reported in October, our work for StIRRRD sometimes provides unexpected opportunities to support the communities we work with – outside of our normal resilience projects.

A StIRRRD team member was asked to present to the Balclutha Rotary Club about the project, focusing on the community-scale DRR work undertaken in the village of Rawa Indah.  Rotary kindly offered to donate $500 to Rawa Indah School to help pave the central courtyard, which is dusty and pitted in the dry season, and becomes very muddy during the rainy season. The courtyard also serves as the evacuation meeting point for the entire school in the event of an emergency.

This small donation has proved invaluable to the school, and they immediately got to work using the funds to improve a section of the yard. They have plans to raise more funds, and extend this work across the entire yard.

Sometimes it is the little things like this which can make a big difference in people’s everyday lives, and it has certainly provided a great deal of satisfaction for the StIRRRD team which helped to coordinate it.  The photos show that is it has given a much-needed lift to the school environment.

New Zealand-Indonesia Palu Tsunami Survey Team

Written by Sheng-Lin Lin, Risk Engineer, GNS Science

The tsunami survey is a research initiative funded by the New Zealand RiskScape programme (www.riskscape.org.nz) in partnership with the University of Canterbury and theStIRRRD programme.

Summary -15/11/2018

Yesterday (16/11/18) morning we continued ourdamage survey in the east side of bridge but further north, as shown in thesurvey point distribution.

In the afternoon, we visited Balaroa, one of the liquefaction areas near Palu.

As shown in the image, the damage/impact is impressive and very sad. 

We thought some damage might come from liquefaction, but the majority of the houses were swallowed/damaged by the landslide/mudslide as the scale is unbelievable.

I’m on the way back to Wellington, but the team will continue their field survey today (Saturday), and head back Jakarta on Sunday,have debrief meeting on Monday in Jakarta with ITST, and then head back NZ on Monday late afternoon.

New Zealand-Indonesia Palu Tsunami Survey Team

Written by Sheng-Lin Lin, Risk Engineer, GNS Science

The tsunami survey is a research initiative funded by the New Zealand RiskScape programme (www.riskscape.org.nz) in partnership with the University of Canterbury and the StIRRRD programme.

Summary – 15/11/2018

Yesterday (15/11/2018) morning we continued our damage survey (incl. inundation depth measurement) in the west side of bridge,and we moved to the east side of bridge in the afternoon.

As shown, we have covered the majority of the waterfront area, we will continue the east side today, and might check other place this afternoon.

Though it’s an unfortunate event, my observation isthat people are still very positive and keep moving on (exact message from theimage took from a shop near the collapsed bridge)

PS. Felt first aftershock since arriving couple hours ago, a moderate one?!, We weren’t worried too much but it came after power outage, so made things interesting. The power is back so we are fine now, and I can share our survey activities with you…😊

New Zealand-Indonesia Palu Tsunami Survey Team

Written by Sheng-Lin Lin, Risk Engineer, GNS Science

The tsunami survey is a research initiative funded by the New Zealand RiskScape programme (www.riskscape.org.nz) in partnership with the University of Canterbury and the StIRRRD programme.

Summary – 14/11/2018

Today (14/11/2018) is our first day on the ground to capture the tsunami impact using RiACT.

We have Alamsyah (lecturer) and 4 students from UNTAD Engineering Dept with us to capture the impact as well as translation.

As shown in the below image, today’s survey is concentrated in the area between Palu Bridge and Palu Grand Mall.

After we spent the day surveying, we were invited to attend a community meeting to discuss and share our learning from the field survey as well as our experiences in NZ.

Over 40 people (incl. Pak Singgih & Dr. Abdullah, 2 key personnel in StIRRRD project) attended to learn the tsunami impact survey as well as share their experience and suggestion.

During the meeting, a scientist from Indonesian Science Institute gave a brief overview of recent post-tsunami survey activities in Palu, followed by questions/comment from community members.

The meeting was great, the audience was very engaged and willing to share their experience (incl. losses) during this event.

We will continue our survey in the Palu, we will first fill the area between the Grand Mall and our hotel (Swiss-belhotel), then probably move to east Palu bay this afternoon.

New Zealand-Indonesia Palu Tsunami Survey Team

Written by Sheng-Lin Lin, Risk Engineer GNS Science

The tsunami survey is a research initiative funded by the New Zealand RiskScape programme (www.riskscape.org.nz) in partnership with the University of Canterbury and the StIRRRD programme.

Summary – 13/11/2018

Day one the survey team traveled to Palu City from Jakarta on an early morning flight. Gumbert Maylda Pratama met the team at Palu airport before attending a meeting with colleagues at Tadulako University (UNTAD). The New Zealand-Indonesian team carried out a survey recognisance trip along the Tawaeli to Palu City coastline, stopping at key sites such as Kampung Nelayan to observe road infrastructure damage.

Palu Tsunami Survey Photo 1

Activities Summary

  • Travel from Jakarta to Palu arriving at 6:30am.
  • Visit Palu River Bridge to see the reconstruction activities.
  • Meeting with Amar Akbar Ali, Pak Ketut, Andi Rusdin and Ida Sri Oktaviana at UNTAD Engineering Department.
  • Travel to Port of Pantoloan with Pak Ketut and Ida Sri Oktaviana for observations of tsunami flow depths and building damage.
  • Travel to Palu City along coastal road, stopping at Kampung Nelayan to observe road and sea wall damage

Tsunami Hazard Observations

Tsunami flow depths above ground and inside buildings were observed and measured for buildings and surrounding features at Port of Pantoloan. Flow depths were observed onsite but not systematically recorded using a field data collection application.

Tsunami Flow Depths

  • Several measurements from water marks inside ferry service terminal building (Pelabuhan Palu – see image below) indicates flow depths may have reached 1.7m above ground. This height was consistent with debris deposited on wire-mesh fencing within 20m of terminal building.

Palu Tsunami Survey Photo 2

Tsunami Damage Observations

Building and infrastructure damage was observed during recognisance along the coastline from Tawaeli to Palu City. The survey team made two stops at Port of Pantoloan and Kampung Nelayan based on the recommendations of UNTAD colleagues. Damage characteristics were observed but not systematically recorded using a field data collection application.

Palu Tsunami Survey Photo 3


  • Port of Pantoloan
    • Flow depths inside ferry terminal buildings reached maximum of 1.7m, though lower depths of 0.33m were measure from debris marks indicating still water levels.
    • No structural damage observed for one and two storey concrete masonry buildings, with non-structural components more readily damaged. Non-structural damage observed on first floor level includes:
      • First floor window frames and glass completely damaged where flow depths exceed 1.5m.
      • Air conditioning service wiring and condenser units completely damage when located low to ground (i.e. <1m).
      • Tiles removed from first floor level, floor material and foundations undamaged.
      • Damage to internal doors i.e. warping and swelling.
      • Fixtures and fittings including joinery were removed from buildings.
      • Electrical items including, power socket and switches were inundated and remained in situ, although replacement or reconditioning would be required before reuse.
      • Minor damage (e.g. impact cavities, stripped paint) to external walls due to floating objects.  No cracking observed.

Palu Tsunami Survey Photo 4

Noted that the ferry service was moved to another further north port prior the Palu-Dongala earthquake tsunami, hence limited human impact during the event.

  • Tawaeli to Palu City
    • Extensive damage on low-lying coastal land, with many buildings potentially experiencing collapse or washed away (we will need to verify with other researchers).
    • A number of damaged building sites identified for survey activities.
    • Caution will need to be exercise during any survey activities as many residents who lost homes have set-up camps.


  • Many roads within observed inundation area have performed well (DL0-DL1). Localised damage was observed (DL2-DL3).
  • DL2– DL3 (Moderate – Complete) damage observed South of University of Tadulaku
  • Extensive seawall scour observed with loss of one or two lanes of road. Blow out observed at culvert (DL2).
  • Peeling of pavement observed (DL1).


Many utility poles were observed to have performed well (DS0). Bolted embedment type poles observed at Pontaloan Port (where damage was observed on other assets)with no signs of damage (DL0)

Localizedareas of damaged utility poles (DS2) observed.

Electricitypoles South of University of Tadulaku observed with lines pulled from poles(DL1 – DL2)

Earthquake Damage Observations

Though the focus of this survey is Tsunami impact to buildings and infrastructures,earthquake damage was also observed and recorded when available.

Palu Airport:

  • The airport is still operating (only ground floor, the upper floor was closed) though its substantial non-structural damage and wall cracks.

Palu Bridge:

  • The demolition of the damage bridge is underway as shown below (left).
  • A multi-story building nearby was also damaged by earthquake shaking (and tsunami?!)

Tadulako University:

  • 70% of buildings in the campus were affected by the earthquake shaking. Some of them was closed due to its severe damage and safety issue, such as the Faculty of Engineering building shown below.
  • Students and staff are back school now. But with limited facilities after the earthquake, some students and staff are relocated to other universities already.
  • Pak Ketut and his team had conducted detailed assessment of damage buildings in Tadulako University as well as buildings within Palu city.

Port of Pantoloan:

  • Some damage in Port of Pantoloan is believed to be caused by earthquake shaking, such as the collapse of crane (left) and the collapse of brick wall (right).

Raspberry Shakes at Palu schools keep on keeping on, providing us a picture of the recent earthquake

Written by Ben Payne

No-one involved in the Seismometers in Schools project wanted to see their work put into action as quickly as it was in Palu. In March 2018, three schools in the City of Palu had Raspberry Shake seismometers installed; on 28 September, a 7.5 magnitude quake in the North Sulawesi subduction zone and a subsequent tsunami killed at least 2100 people in Palu City, Donggala and Sigi. Nearly 700 are still missing and close to 80,000 people remain displaced.

A couple of days later, Richard Woods from the StIRRRD team noticed that the Raspberry Shake at the SMA Negeri Model Terpadu Madani (located in the north of the city of Palu) was back online, as power was restored to the school.

The seismometers in the three schools helped to build a picture of what happened that day. The severity of the shaking was obvious, and we can only imagine how terrifying the earthquake must have been.

The first image below shows the seismic trace up until the M7.5 struck just after 6pm. You can see the M6.1 foreshock earlier in the day and the aftershocks in between the two earthquakes. The second image shows the seismometer had power restored just after 12.15pm on 07/10, and the third image shows the UNTAD seismic trace on the 16th of October, interspersed with many aftershocks.

Image 1 20180928 RF229_EHZ_AM_00
The ‘Raspberry Shake’ seismometer installed at SMA Negeri Model Terpadu Madani school in March, captured the Seismic trace up until the M7.5 struck just after 6pm on September 28. You can see the M6.1 foreshock earlier in the day and the aftershocks in between the two earthquakes.

Image 2 20181007 RF229_EHZ_AM_00
A second image from the Raspberry Shake at SMA Negeri Model Terpadu Madani, which shows that the seismometer had power restored just after 12.15pm on October 7.

Image 3 20181016 RF229_EHZ_AM_00
The image above shows that aftershock sequence is continuing, on seismic trace captured by the raspberry shake on 16 October.

Richard then noticed that the Raspberry Shake located at MAN 1 school in the city  of Palu, had also come back online, and like the first image above, the severity of the shaking is very clear.

The Seismic trace up until the M7.5 struck just after 6pm on September 28 captured on the Raspberry Shake seismometer at MAN 1 School in Palu.

For StIRRRD program leader Michele Daly and the wider team, the realities of the recent earthquake and tsunami are confronting. It’s one thing to be aware of the destructive potential of these natural hazards, but quite another to see events play out so soon. The StIRRRD team had visited Palu just six months before, and no-one could have predicted having to deal with such severe impacts so soon.

Michele described it as ‘heart-breaking’ to see so much destruction and human cost. But she was also amazed at how rapidly people have mobilised to support each other. She says that going by her experience of the wonderful people of Palu, she is sure this will continue throughout the recovery.

So, what are GNS Science and the StIRRD team doing to help?

The StIRRRD team is part of the response effort, supporting the Indonesian government and in-country partners with their response efforts. GNS Science has many experts in response and recovery following earthquake and tsunami events, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) asked GNS and the StIRRRD team to lead a NZ inclusive approach, providing Palu with technical support in the transition from response to rehabilitation and recovery.

The immediate focus is to support MFAT and local agencies in Indonesia to carry out earthquake damaged building assessments and landslide risk assessment. The StIRRRD team are working with GNS experts and liaising with a variety of NZ and Indonesian partners, and this work is likely to continue in the longer term – with an emphasis on resilience and building back, better.

From Balclutha, with love: Rotary and StIRRRD help Rawa Indah school

Written by Michael Goldsmith & Jessica Williams

Sometimes our work for StIRRRD throws up unexpected opportunities to support the communities we work with – not just in our normal resilience projects, either. The story of Rawa Indah school shows what can happen when scientists and communities work together – with a little fundraising help from our friends.

During our three visits to Rawa Indah in Seluma this year, the StIRRRD team noticed the local school needed more than a bit of help. (You can read more about our visits to the village here (https://stirrrd.org/2018/03/05/initiating-tsunami-awareness-community-engagement-rawa-indah-seluma/).

The buildings and grounds of Rawa Indah school were in urgent need of rehabilitation. Take the school yard, for example. The School Principal, Laurensius Pambudi, had previously told us this was a priority project for them, as it is the evacuation meeting point for the entire school in the event of an emergency. The yard is not currently suitable for this purpose, as it is dusty and pitted in the dry season, and becomes very muddy during the rainy season.


Building &amp; Yeard 20180723_103036
Photos showing the condition of Rawa Indah School Yard. Photo credit: Michael Goldsmith.

Rawa Indah School from the air (centre of image). It is located near the coast, and therefore has a high risk from tsunami. Photo Credit: Egy Erzagian.

Back home in NZ, one of the StIRRRD team members was asked to present to Balclutha Rotary Club about StIRRRD, particularly about the DRR work being undertaken in Seluma. Following this presentation, Rotary offered to donate $500 to Rawa Indah School so they could pave the yard.

Balclutha Rotary supports both local and international projects, particularly in developing nations. In the past they’ve supplied emergency response kits and supported an expert dental and educational support group to work in Cambodia. Rotary member Gabrielle Schou said that the project fitted well with Rotary’s core values, and supporting projects aligned to Rotary’s six areas of focus (includes basic education and child health) is very important.

The StIRRRD team were more than happy to facilitate this donation, and we will continue to look for other opportunities which can help Rawa Indah become more resilient. We made some great friendships within the village through this project, and look forward to seeing their progress in coming years.

Wahyu &amp; Mayor 20180723_114533
School Principal Laurensius Pambudi (left) and StIRRRD Province Coordinator Dr. Wahyu Wilopo. An Information Board prepared specifically for the School as part of the Tsunami Preparedness project can be seen on the wall. Photo credit: Phil Glassey


Concluding the Tsunami Safe Community Project in Rawa Indah, Seluma

Written by Elizabeth Garlick, Michael Goldsmith & Phil Glassey

Following our previous two visits, the StIRRRD team were again in Rawa Indah, Indonesia in July 2018 to build on the work they’ve already undertaken in developing a Tsunami Safe Community Action Plan with locals. This visit was focussed on facilitating a village-wide tsunami evacuation simulation. It involved working with village leaders, local schools, community groups and the district Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) to finalise the arrangements for the evacuation; as well as measure and observe the evacuation itself to get a better understanding of how the locals responded.  The team was once again assisted by its experienced project partners – The University of Bengkulu (UNIB), Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and the National Board for Disaster Management (BPBD).  The team was once again assisted by its experienced project partners – The University of Bengkulu (UNIB), Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and the National Board for Disaster Management (BPBD).

Location of Rawa Indah village, Seluma Regency, Indonesia

The day before the simulation we visited Rawa Indah school to hand over the resources developed with them during previous visits.   These included framed tsunami evacuation posters for each class, signs for the assembly area, evacuation signs and a large information poster to be displayed in a high-traffic area by the school gate. These resources were much-needed and attracted the attention of many students who were eager to learn tsunami safety information. While at the school, we made final plans for the simulation and encouraged the principal to let all classes participate, even new entrants. Children that know about tsunami hazard and response will go home and educate their families, which in turn leads to safer communities.

Information board at Rawa Indah School.  The board includes maps of the school and the evacuation route to the shelter, and tsunami hazard information.



The simulation worked well, with around 240 people from the village making their way to the tsunami shelter – 177 of these people were children – with most people arriving by motor-scooter.   The simulation started at 9.04 am and most people had arrived at the shelter by 9.30 am. After everyone had gathered, local agencies kept the children engaged with hazard education including songs. PMI distributed food packages and we gave away a ‘grab and go’ emergency bag from New Zealand.

We worked with local agencies to debrief after the simulation and created some action points for improvement. Most people heard a warning, either the siren or kentongan (traditional wooden instrument that makes a noise when struck), which was a great start. The kentongan is robust and reliable and has been used for centuries by locals to warn of threats. It was noted that multiple sources of warnings should be used though, and it was noted that BPBD hope to install a system which can provide official warnings directly to the village in the near future.


Training workshop with local volunteers, to finalise arrangements for the tsunami simulation

After the simulation, we initiated some actions that will have an impact on how ready the community will be in the event of a tsunami.   Another positive outcome from this project is that the school has agreed to run the simulation at the start of every school year to keep the information fresh in the children’s minds. The schoolchildren also picked up the evacuation information quickly due to being familiar with the shelter and from the songs previously learnt.

Also, during the week, we undertook a repeat survey about tsunami hazard and response. The survey will give an insight into the effectiveness of our community education programme as well as highlight issues.

Training local volunteers to undertake the community survey

In addition to the Community Project work, the team met with BPBD leaders in Seluma District and also in nearby Bengkulu City, to get an update on the DRR activities they have implemented recently, or are planning in the coming year. Both agencies are making good progress, and are building on the original DRR Action Plans they developed as part of the StIRRRD project. Highlights include:

  • Bengkulu BPBD working with the private sector to formalise access to buildings near the coast, so they can be used in the event of a tsunami warning.
  • Bengkulu BPBD participating in a large-scale Pacific Partnership Exercise that coordinated a field response to many emergency simulation situations including devastating earthquakes. They were proud of their involvement in this and it has given them further confidence in their response capabilities.
  • Bengkulu BPBD are hoping to erect a building using sound construction techniques, that would become an example of sturdy design for locals to adopt themselves. The building could also be used as a station for disaster risk reduction training. The StIRRRD team offered help to gain some additional funding for this project.
  • Seluma BPBD have a number of projects underway. These include adding to their early warning system network, evacuation simulations, and facilitating additional ‘disaster resilient village’ programs.

In addition, some of our team attended a workshop about the Safe Schools programme in Seluma.  A short presentation was given regarding the simple-action messages used in New Zealand, such as “drop, cover, hold” and “long or strong, get gone” as well as the emergency ‘go bag’ concept. Some of our insights and experiences of the Rawa Indah School evacuation simulation were also shared.

The StIRRRD team have returned to New Zealand with several action points to work on to keep the progress moving along in Rawa Indah.  The team is happy with the progress made by local agencies and the community throughout the project, and especially with how well the schoolchildren responded to the evacuation simulation. Thanks to everyone who generously hosted the team during the 3 project visits, and to the local volunteers who gave up their time for an important community cause.


Tsunami information boards at the shelter

Developing a Tsunami Safe Community in Rawa Indah, Seluma

Following on from our visit in March 2018, the StIRRRD team visited Rawa Indah to engage with the community and stakeholders to further develop a draft Tsunami Safe Action Plan. The team spent 5 days in the village conducting and participating in various village activities, with the help of BPBD (Emergency Management Agency), Seluma and Bengkulu University. Specifically, we

Attended, on invitation, 2 women’s prayer groups and one men’s prayer group and discussed tsunami awareness and preparedness.

Womens group 180424

Engaged with the local community groups (POLMAS – Community Police, Tagana (Youth) BANSER and KSB) and sought their input into Actions to be taken, within 5 overlapping themes that had emerged from the initial visit, namely; 1) Shelter Management, 2) Evacuation Planning, 3) Local Access, 4) Resilient Infrastructure and 5) Prepared and Knowledgeable Community.

Poster Mitigasi Bencana Tsunami Desa Rawa IndahDistributed tsunami awareness and response posters/calendars developed by the team to each household and gifted maps and drone video footage flown on first visit, along with other tsunami preparedness literature and videos.

Attended Friday morning women’s aerobics at the tsunami shelter and were given an opportunity to talk about tsunami preparedness.Friday aerobics 180427Friday aerobics 180427 (2)

Held a meeting with District OPDs (Social, Public Works (PU), Bappeda (Planning), Education, Health, Marine and Fisheries) at the shelter to present the plan and convey the actions in the plan that were their responsibility. Implementing the plan requires a trusted partnership between the district agencies and the village.

School Simulation 180426 (19)Participated in an evacuation simulation with children in years 4-6 from the local school and then spent some time at the shelter discussing tsunami and disaster preparedness.

Facilitated a tsunami/disaster art competition for years 5 and 6 at the school, supplying plywood sheets, paint and some concepts. The artwork produced in a 3-hour session is spectacular, and the children stayed well after school was finished to complete their group projects. The intent is that these will be on display in the tsunami shelter.

School Art 180428 (5)

The activities culminated in a movie night at the shelter that about 500 people attended. Prior to the feature movies we showed some tsunami safe preparedness videos in Bahasa Indonesian developed by IOTIC/UNESCO, as well as the aerial video of Rawa Indah taken during the first visit. The school artwork created earlier in the day was on display. The mobile cinema was rented from the Ministry of Education, Seluma.

Movie Night 180428 (7)

Movie Night 180428 (18)

The village head, Pak Rubimanto, expressed his commitment, and that of the village to the plan and restated the intent to help facilitate similar plans in nearby villages also at risk from tsunami. Hopefully the plan and the process will provide a template for the BPBD along with PMI (Indonesian Red Cross) to extend awareness and preparedness.

We are grateful Pak Rubimanto, his family and the villagers who generously hosted us for 5 nights and engaged with enthusiasm. We have developed trusted relationships with community leaders and they are extremely keen to instigate the actions they have identified as best they can. We’ll be following up with progress in July 2018 when we hope to finalise the plan and have a village-wide simulation.

Strengthened Indonesian Resilience – Reducing Risk from Disasters

%d bloggers like this: