On 8 April 2016, participants of the second StIRRRD comparative study tour 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.
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.
Other StIRRRD districts, including thos 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!