Tsunami Risk Reduction activities a highlight for Comparative Study Tour participants

On 8 April, comparative study tour participants learnt about tsunami risk reduction activities in place in Wellington.  Dan Neely from the regional emergency management office (WREMO) provided insight into the internationally awarding winning blue line initiative.  The initiative is much more than blue paint marking the maximum credible tsunami inundation extent.  It provides a platform for communities to understand their potential tsunami hazards, the associated risks and how they might collectively manage these risks.

Participants visited a street in the Island bay community where the blue line initiative was initially developed.  Dan explained that the project has been effective at raising community awareness on what to do in the event of strong, long earthquake; more than conventional signage mounted on poles.  Also, schools in the blue line areas have conducted evacuation drills with one school fundraising to construct a staircase so children and staff can evacuate quicker and more safely in the event of an earthquake.

In the tsunami safe zone! StIRRRD comparative study participants learn about the Wellington blue line initiative.

Near the coast in Island Bay, Dan showcased public education messageboards that have been erected in locations where the public gather, such as playgrounds.  These strategically placed boards provide information on evacuation zones, key routes and what to do in the event of an earthquake.

There was substantial discussion from our Indonesian participants and many questions on implementation of the project.  These discussions continued on the following day where participants presented their draft DRR action plans, some of which had been amended to include similar community-led initiatives.

Study visit participants are briefed by Dan on Island Bay tsunami risk.

Other StIRRRD districts, from the 2015 comparative study tour, are also considering similar projects.  Pesisir Selatin has been in discussion with StIRRRD team members on how they might apply the blue lines project in their local context.  Support by BNPB, the national disaster agency, the role out of this project would be a first for Indonesia.  Watch this space!

Morowali Focus Group Discussion: Memetakan Partisipasi Perempuan dalam kegiatan Pengurangan Resiko Bencana (PRB)

Bencana yang sama bisa membawa dampak yang berbeda bagi kelompok gender yang berbeda. FGD ini dilakukan pada hari Selasa, 18 Februari 2016 di Kantor BPBD Kabupaten Morowali. Kegiatan FGD ini  tidak hanya melibatkan para perempuan akan tetapi juga para laki laki. Selain perwakilan dari beberapa lembaga pemerintah di Kabupaten Morowali, juga melibatkan perwakilan kelompok masyarakat yang berasal dari Karang Taruna, Majelis Mualimat dan NGO.
Kegiatan ini bertujuan untuk; 1) menjelajahi konteks lokal seperti konteks geografis dan konteks sosial (peran gender), 2) menjelajahi pemahaman masyarakat terhadap ancaman bencana di daerah mereka,  3) memetakan masalah dan kerentanan yang timbul ketika berhadapan dengan bahaya dan bencana, 4) relasi gender dalam kegiatan PRB, dan mengeksplorasi gagasan dari pemerintah, masyarakat dan para pihak yang terkait untuk perencanaan program PRB di masa mendatang.



Better Recognition of Morowali Earthquake Risk

Held on 16 February, Morowali’s Action Plan workshop received positive feedback from local stakeholders and parliamentarians.  Having experienced frequent flooding and coastal abrasion issues in recent years, local authorities have been concentrating reduction efforts on mitigating the impacts of these natural hazards, largely through physical works.

Morowali action plan workshop participants, 16-17 February 2016.
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Central Sulawesi, Indonesia showing locations of major active faults. Image: Dr Agung Setianto, UGM.

Morowali’s Vulnerability Profile

Working through Morowali’s vulnerability profile showed that while flooding and coastal abrasion are frequent occurrences, the threat of large earthquakes affecting the district is very high.  Due to the presence of active faulting across Central Sulawesi and the specific location of some faults (see image), Morowali ranks in the top 40 out of 500 districts prone to earthquake activity across Indonesia.

Earthquakes: So what’s the risk Morowali?

In his presentation to workshop participants, Professor Iman Satyarno from UGM University, described the prevalence of the Matano Fault in central Morowali (see image).  On 16 April 2012, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred, located on or nearby this fault.  The earthquake heavily damaged houses in two communities while also damaging Morowali’s government buildings.  Two years later another earthquake occurred further to the east, causing less damage but still being felt across central Morowali.  This recurrent activity is a reminder of the prevalent earthquake risk across the district.

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Morowali District, Central Sulawesi showing the location of the active Matano Fault. Image: Dr Agung Setianto, UGM.

Earthquakes: What are the DRR options?

While large earthquakes are relatively infrequent in Morowali, compared to other natural hazards, their impact may be substantially larger than the combined impact of smaller events.  This concept has been recognised by members of local government, the emergency management agency (BPBD) and other key stakeholders attending the workshop.

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Morowali workshop participants discuss the district’s vulnerability profile. Photo: Richard Woods.

These members of the community are now considering many initiatives to reduce the risk from future earthquakes.  Such initiatives include methods to strengthen existing buildings, socialisation of information on building earthquake resistant structures, microzonation of land in close proximity to active faults and regulations for future development and construction.

A Quick Win for Morowali and StIRRRD

Having a wide representation of stakeholders to consider disaster risk reduction initiatives is key to ensuring efforts are coordinated.  On 17 February, the StIRRRD team visited the local parliament to raise awareness of the project’s focus on Morowali District and seek support for the community’s action plan going forward.

During this meeting, local parliamentarians (DPRD) raised concerns regarding Morowali’s earthquake risk, particularly in regard to the Matano Fault, which had only been located in the district after boundary changes in recent years.  DPRD representatives attending the previous day’s workshops were able to convey the district’s vulnerability profile to decision makers within a matter of hours.  As a result, Morowali is now considering implementing earthquake resistant regulations and micro-zonation of properties in close proximity to the Matano Fault.

A great result for Morowali District and StIRRRD team from their short visit!  The StIRRRD team will return to Morowali later in 2016 to provide feedback on the district’s risk reduction action plan.


StIRRRD hits Bengkulu TV

Disaster Risk Reduction was the feature for the Selamat Pagi, Bengkulu TV breakfast show on the morning of Tuesday 24 November, 2015. Prof Iman Satyarno and Phil Glassey from the StIRRRD team, along with Ibu Lena from the Bengkulu City Emergency Management Office (BPBD)  and Ibu Erna Sari Dewi the head of the City‘s parliament (DPRD), were guests on the 1 hour interactive TV chat show from 8 – 9 am on RB (Rakyat Bengkulu) TV, the Bengkulu Province broadcaster.

From right – Phil Glassey (GNS Science – StiRRRD), Prof Iman Satyarno (University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) – StIRRRD), Ibu Erna Sari Dewi (DPRD), and Ibu Lena (BPBD),  on the Selamat Pagi Bengkulu show.

The TV show started by introducing Bengkulu as one of the regions in Indonesia that has a quite high disaster index as noted by the National Agency for Disaster Reduction (BNPB). Some effort has been made by Bengkulu City Government to minimise the risk but many more activities still need to be implemented. Some video clips of what Bengkulu City Government and StIRRRD have done so far were also shown during the broadcast.

It was discussed that to effectively reduce disaster risk requires that the stake holders such as the community itself, the local government, the local university, and the local NGOs to work together. Each has its own role and the local university (University of Bengkulu) will support with its research and technology with back up from UGM and GNS Science. One example of technology that can be used to reduce the risk of buildings from earthquake is by using base isolation technology.

The role of DPRD is considered very important as it is the one who prove all the legal aspects and the budget required to carry out activities to reduce the disaster risk. The head of Bengkulu City DPRD explicitly stated that she will do her best to get the support of parliament for any disaster risk reduction activities.

One viewer called the show saying that he supported the StIRRRD activity in Bengkulu City and thanked UGM and GNS Science for their help. He also requested more socialisation about disaster risk reduction program in Bengkulu City, and asked for more signs for tsunami evacuation and simulation drills so that the community is ready.

The StIRRRD team were back in Bengkulu City to facilitate the BPBD and other local government departments to finalise a Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plan with all stakeholders in a one day workshop, and present that plan to the local parliament for provisional approval. The Plan has been developed over a period of 6 months and the process included an initial 2 day workshop in April 2015 and a comparative study visit to New Zealand in June 2015.

Risk Reduction Action Planning in Donggala

The StIRRRD team were back in Donggala this week on our third visit, supporting the local disaster management agency in its final stages of developing an action plan aimed at reducing risk. Many stakeholders joined the discussion and there will be follow-up workshops to fine-tune the details next week.

The plan is an attempt to coordinate risk reduction activities across different local government work units: development planning, public works, health, disaster management, education, agriculture, environmental management, etc. It also involves and is supported by the local university, Tadulako University, and NGOs.

Workshop participants listen to Dr Agung Setianto from Gadjah Mada University.

The plan was presented to Donggala’s parliament which generally supported the workplan. We hope that greater priority will be given to DRR and a greater budget allocated as a result. A robust debate was had about the role deforestation and aggregate mining were having on increasing risk, particularly increasing the frequency of landslides, flooding and coastal erosion. It was great to see the awareness of these issues and local government debating ways of managing these problems. The proof will be in changes over time, one step at a time.

Presenting the Action Plan to Donggala Parliament.


The team also took the opportunity to meet with colleagues from Tadulako University, who are an important stakeholder and who will help local government tackle the DRR challenges in the district. Tadulako are taking initiatives to develop capability in risk modelling and are involving students in capturing building asset data in Palu on tablets in order to better understand the vulnerability of different types of buildings to natural hazards. See an earlier blog on Riskscape training.


With colleagues from Tadulako University


National DRR Events in Solo, 16-18 October 2015

Members of the StIRRRD team attended the Indonesian National DRR Awareness Event held over 16th-19th October 2015 in Solo, Central Java.

In 2009, the UN agency UNISDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) established October 13th as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. This provides an opportunity for countries to promote the culture of disaster risk reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

In Indonesia, a focus on DRR has become part of the national DRR agenda and events of some shape or form have been held every year since 2011 – Yogyakarta (2011), Yogyakarta (2012), Mataram (2013) and Bengkulu (2014). This year (2015) it’s Surakarta’s (Solo’s) turn to host the event.

Entrance to the DRR Exhibition at Benteng Vasternburg, Solo
Entrance to the DRR Exhibition at Benteng Vasternburg, Solo

Thousands of people attended the series of events over the weekend which included opening and closing ceremonies, 24 special sessions, 8 side events, 3 working sessions, and an exhibition which gave hundreds of organisations and local agencies a chance to showcase the work they were doing in disaster risk reduction and disaster management.

The StIRRRD programme hosted a Special Session which was attended by the NZ Ambassador to Indonesia (H.E. Dr. Trevor Matheson), the Governor of Central Java (Ganjar Pranowo), the Rektor of Gadjah Mada University (Prof. Dwikorita Karnawati), the Chief Executive of GNS Science (Dr. Mike McWilliams) as well as senior Indonesian Government officials, Dody Ruswandi (BNPB) and Suprayoga Hadi (KDPDTT).

Panellists at the StIRRRD Special Session chaired by Professor Dwikorita Karnawati, Rektor of the University of Gadjah Mada.
Panellists at the StIRRRD Special Session chaired by Professor Dwikorita Karnawati, Rektor of the University of Gadjah Mada.

There was much spirited discussion from the audience, who raised issues ranging from the consideration of disabled persons in DRR planning, to difficulties with the rules around the use of contingency funds after a disaster. One thing that emerged from the discussions was the need to ‘make a start’. With long lists of tasks and limited budgets, the DRR path can be overwhelming. It’s important to remain focused, prioritise the work that’s needing to be done and take one step at a time.

The StIRRRD team also had a booth in the exhibition space which showcased the StIRRRD programme through videos and the UGM developed early landslide warning system. Our booth was fortunate in that the Governor together with the NZ Ambassador made a point of stopping at the booth and discussing the work featured.

The StIRRRD booth at the Exhibition. Prof. Faisal Fathani and Rektor Dwikorita Karnawati ready to explain the University's landslide EWS and StIRRRD programme.
The StIRRRD booth at the Exhibition. Dr. Faisal Fathani and Rektor Dwikorita Karnawati ready to explain the University’s landslide Early Warning System and StIRRRD programme.

The very high level of participation in the event and the commitment shown by participants at the working and special sessions bodes well for the future and we hope that DRR ‘takes off’ and gets the priority it needs to have across all districts and provinces in Indonesia.

More information about the event and the ‘Solo Declaration’ can be found at


H.E. Dr Trevor Matheson, NZ Ambassador to Indonesia, addressing the audience at the StIRRRD Special session.
H.E. Dr Trevor Matheson, NZ Ambassador to Indonesia, addressing the audience at the StIRRRD Special Session.
StIRRRD Special Session participants get into the spirit of the event!
StIRRRD Special Session participants get into the spirit of the event!

RiskScape – Risk Modelling Training, Palu

For some, it wasn’t easy to get to Palu for the Risk Modelling training conducted in Palu 19 – 23 October 2015. Smoke from wild fires closed Palu Airport, and a few participants, and some of the training team missed the first day. Contingency planning wasn’t in place for such an event. Perhaps the economic losses and disruption to people from wild fire in Indonesia could be included in the future risk modelling. Tragically, some hikers died in a wild fire in Java on the day before the workshop. Flights were cancelled many times during our week here and we weren’t sure we were going to get flights out.

The R Team

The training was facilitated by members of the RiskScape team Kate Crowley (NIWA), Sheng-Lin Lin and Mostafa Nayyerloo (GNS Science) along with members of the StIRRRD team from UGM ( Agung Setianto,  Iman Satyarno, Wahyu Wilopo). Gumbert Maylda Pratarma from UGM provided able logistic support.

About 40 participants attended the training coming from the 4 universities that are part of StIRRRD project; Tadulako University (UNTAD), Andalas University (UNAND), Mataram University (UNRAM), and Bengkulu University (UNIB), and from the Emergency Management, Planning, and Public Works offices of Palu, Donggala, and Morowali, Padang, Agam, Kota Bengkulu and Mataram.

The training started with the fundamentals of Risk – Hazards, the exposed Assets (buildings, infrastructure and people) and the interaction between the assets and population and the hazards, known as the Vulnerability. RiskScape is the tool that combines these to calculate the impacts of hazard events in terms of damage and casualties, and the trainees were given a quick look at how the tool works.

Using Riskscape

To reinforce risk fundamentals, group exercises were used to discuss how risk modelling could support DRR activities in their districts and to list the possible impacts of hazards on the exposed assets.

Discussing the issues

For the more technical minded, a look under the hood of RiskScape enabled them to see how hazard layers and vulnerability functions can be loaded into the tool. Concurrently, the remainder discussed the development of hazard values and the basics of developing measures of vulnerability.

Outdoor riskscape session

This led into a discussion about the asset information required, including building and infrastructure attributes and typology, as well as population data, and involved a demonstration of the RiACT tool (Real Time Asset Collection Tool), to be used the next day in the field exercise. Being in Palu, Tadulako University had helped with organising the training, and had gathered significant asset data prior to the workshop using paper forms, the results of this survey presented by Dr Ketut of Tadulako University.

The following morning one half of the group went into the streets of Palu, armed with tablets to collect asset data using the RiACT tool. They collected 75 assets in 2 hours work and downloaded them to a database server.

Getting ready for field action

Field data capture

The remaining group worked through RiskScape tutorials and discussed ‘what if’ scenarios. They also came up with questions/scenarios that they might wish to have modelled in RiskScape to assist in Risk Reduction investment, and the data they would need to do so. These scenarios provided the basis of RiskScape Indonesia action plans to be developed later in the training. The groups swapped sessions the following morning.

Using the data they had collected, and earthquake hazard scenario and vulnerability functions from New Zealand, a Palu earthquake scenario was modelled using RiskScape.

Palu Scenario

The final sessions of the workshop were devoted to developing actions to take the training forward to develop and model the scenarios developed through the workshop. These will require collaboration between the district government departments and the universities involved. Tadulako University and Palu indicated they had data and resources and were ready to go, especially with the asset data collection.

Via the network established here, risk modelling in Indonesia can be developed and inform Disaster Risk Reduction decisions and investment.

Seluma – observing hazard and risk issues in the field – by Kate Crowley

As part of the DRR Action Plan workshop held in Seluma, 25–26 August 2015, we had a half-day field visit organised by the local emergency management office (BPBD). It was an opportunity for them to show some of the hazard and risk issues they face. Our party consisting of local government staff and university researchers, set off from Pasar Tais just after 8 am and travelled towards Pasar Seluma on the coast. Soon the tarmac road ran out and gave way to a rolling dirt track worn to rubble, which took us through a cross section of Indonesian life from the bustling town to the gentle padi fields. But the watery green terraces are slowly being eaten by groves of palm oil. Busy villages line the road, hinting at the thousands of people who live in this area near the coast. Initially hidden by the palms a great expanse of beach opens out. Here, we are provided an informative presentation by the head of the Preparedness section of the BPBD, Aziman. He describes how they have recently mapped the tsunami hazard in this region and will be using this map in risk reduction planning going forwards.


He expresses his concerns that although the national government have built a tsunami shelter, it can hold only 3,000 people. There are many villages that line the 70 km of exposed coast of Seluma and he estimates that they would need 10 tsunami shelters to sufficient provide a safe refuge for them all. The drive from Pasar Tais to the beach is across broad flat coastal plain, which makes tsunami evacuation challenging. Vertical evacuation is a sensible option, but the lack of multi-storey buildings means that purpose built structures, although expensive, are the only option.

Following a ‘bread crumb’ trail of tsunami evacuation signs our dusty convoy travelled on to the purpose built tsunami shelter.


Exploring this large structure it becomes clear that it is purpose built. It is a solid, open structure and a ramp and broad stairs enable those who are frail, young or disabled to access the higher floors. Toilets are provided on the third floor and solar panels are in place to provide lighting at night. This is an impressive undertaking, following a national standard and is very similar to the one observed in Kota Bengkulu.


However, the local emergency managers are still waiting for an official handover of the building from the national government before they can start using the building and implementing their community awareness plans. The building could be used as a local community centre, a market, or even a school and this would enable the community to become familiar with the structure and put it to good use.

Click the links here for a videos of a similar shelter in Kota Bengkulu, under construction and finished.

The aim of this second phase is to support the local community to be resilient, enabling them to identify the warning signs of a tsunami and know where to go and when. This outreach is aligned with support for their livelihoods under the “Resilient Village” government program.  It is a holistic approach that aims to improve the lives of those living in the area now and in the future.


Tsunami is not the only hazard that impacts this area. The workshop participants have also identified floods, earthquakes and landslides. Participants noted that they are used to the frequent small earthquakes that shake the surrounding countryside, and they rank earthquakes as the biggest threat. The fear of ‘the large one’ is real.

Our final stop demonstrates the power of a frequent and rapid onset hazard – flooding. We visit a small village that last month woke to find devastation on their door step. Overnight heavy rainfall upstream, in the “dry” season, caused the near-by wide and shallow river to swell and overtop its banks. Flood waters up to 4 m in depth swept through the palm oil plantation and three villages were flooded. Despite the flood occurring rapidly, over only 2 hours, no one was hurt but many lost their belongings.

The field trip provided an insight into this districts progress towards resilience. Just like the road we travelled together today, the path of disaster risk reduction is at times rough and slow but the journey is always worth it.

StIRRRD New Zealand Comparative Study Programme Field Trip: Wellington-Taupo-Rotorua 13-14th June 2015

The Comparative Study Programme finished with a two day field trip from Wellington to the central North Island exploring landslide and volcanic hazards, monitoring and early warning systems. Mike Page and Brenda Rosser from GNS led the field trip with assistance from Nico, Phaedra and Noel.  We left Wellington in glorious sunshine which unfortunately did not continue as we drove north. Continue reading StIRRRD New Zealand Comparative Study Programme Field Trip: Wellington-Taupo-Rotorua 13-14th June 2015

StIRRRD New Zealand Comparative Study Programme 5-19th June 2015

The New Zealand StIRRRD team recently hosted a 27 strong delegation from Indonesia for a Comparative Study Tour of Disaster Risk Reduction.  The delegation consisted of representatives from UGM, regional governments and parliaments from the four districts Pesisir Selatan, Bengkulu, Donggala and Mataram, central government representatives including the Director for Disaster Risk Reduction from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, National Planning and the Ministry for Rural and Underdeveloped Regions and Transmigration. Partner universities, Universitas Andalas, Universitas Bengkulu, Universitas Tadulako, and Universitas Mataram, also attended.  The delegation was led by UGM Vice-Rector for Cooperation and Alumni, Dr. Paripurna Sugarda and was accompanied by a translator, Zamira Tatapamang. Continue reading StIRRRD New Zealand Comparative Study Programme 5-19th June 2015

Strengthened Indonesian Resilience – Reducing Risk from Disasters