Seismometer in Schools Pilot Launched in Central Sulawesi

During the week 5 to 9 March, StIRRRD team members were based in Palu, Central Sulawesi to launch Indonesia’s first Seismometers in Schools (SIS) programme.  Seismometers in Schools is an education initiative already present in Australia, New Zealand and the United States which involves installing seismometers in schools as tools to increase awareness of seismic hazards and risks.  Information from the seismometers can be analysed by mathematics, physics or geography students to assess earthquakes recorded locally or from around the world.

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Raspberry Shake seismometers are commonly used in school education programmes around the world.

As a part of the StIRRRD programme, the pilot SIS programme has been established in Central Sulawesi province with seismometers installed in four schools and a more sophisticated three component device installed at the University of Tadulako, Palu.  The participating schools are SMA Negeri Model Terpadu Madani and MAN 1 in Palu City, SMA N 1 Banawa in Donggala and SMA N 1 Bahadopi in Morowali.  Only public schools were selected to be involved in the pilot study.  All installations were undertaken in the first week of March, except for Morowali which will be installed in the coming weeks.

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SMA N 1 Banawa school in Donggala

On Monday 5 March, StIRRRD team members visited all schools, in Palu and Donggala, to begin installing the equipment and meeting the school principals and teachers.  The team were warmly welcomed to all schools with teachers expressing gratitude and excitement that their schools were chosen to be a part of the project.  In the following days, installation of the equipment would be completed in each school and training workshops for teachers to increase their knowledge of earthquake and tsunami risks were undertaken.

Importantly, the project has been supported by a range of Indonesian agencies willing to assist the schools with technical support and further training.  Their commitment was recognised in a MoU signing ceremony on 5 March.  The agencies signing the MoU include:

  • Palu’s local university – Universitas of Tadulako (UNTAD)
  • The provincial office of the national seismic monitoring agency – Kantor Stasiun Geofisika Palu (BMKG)
  • The local emergency management offices – BPBD Kota Palu & BPBD Kabupaten Donggala
  • The provincial office of the national education office – Dinas Pendidikan Provinsi Sulawesi Tengah­­­­­
  • The provincial office of the national Ministry of Religion – Kakanwil Kemenag Provinai Sulawesi Tengah

 

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Principals from SIS schools in Palu and Donggala sign the MoU with other agencies
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Local Palu newspaper report detailing the SIS pilot activity

All agencies were very enthusiastic about the SIS programme and agreed to help with technical assistance, further capacity building for teachers, help with assessing earthquake traces and providing ideas on how students might develop future projects.  This enthusiasm was further reflected by the extensive media coverage the project received during the week in Palu, some which can be found here:

http://www.kailipost.com/2018/03/ancaman-palu-koro-dalam-konteks-sekolah.html

https://paluekspres.fajar.co.id/deteksi-getaran-palu-koro-terpantau-7-seismometer/

https://paluekspres.fajar.co.id/program-seismometer-di-sekolah-ajarkan-tentang-gemp

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Opening ceremony and morning session at SMA Negeri model Terpadu Madani school, Palu

On Tuesday 6 March, the StIRRRD team visited SMA Negeri Model Terpadu Madani where an initial ceremony was followed by an overview of local seismic hazards and risks and capacity building for teachers and a group of selected students.  This session was largely delivered by Universistas Gadjah Mada (UGM), StIRRRD team members and a representative from LIPI – Indonesia’s Institute of Science.  Teachers and students were highly engaged during the session, while enjoying New Zealand chocolate for answering questions correctly, which was followed by a visit to the recently installed seismometer.  In the afternoon, members of the StIRRRD team led targeted training session for the teachers with input from the agencies noted above.  A demonstration of how the seismometer works by a technician from GNS Science was well received and ideas for future student projects was discussed with teachers.

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The Head of Central Sulawesi BMKG and GNS Science technician, Richard Johnson, demonstrate a seismometer and equipment to the school principals and partner agencies

The same programme was delivered to MAN 1 in Palu City and SMA N 1 Banawa in Donggala on 7 and 8 March respectively.  A highlight was returning to Donggala on Thursday and discovering that their seismometer had already detected its first earthquake the night before!  The last seismometer to be installed in SMA N 1 Bahadopi school in Morowali will happen in coming weeks by UGM staff and technicians assisted by BMKG.

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SMA N1 Banawa school in Donggala recorded their first earthquake on the recently installed seismometer

All of the seismometers are now part of the global raspberry shake seismic network with real time data from each of the devices available here: http://raspberyshake.net/stationview

On Friday 9 March, the team completed the installation of a more sophisticated three-component seismometer at the Universitas of Tadulako (UNTAD).  This device will support future research projects on the seismicity of the area and provide further data for the local Palu-Koro Fault seismic network managed by BMKG.

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The Dean of Engineering from UNTAD with StIRRRD team members Michele and Pak Agung

That morning, StIRRRD team members met with the Dean of the Engineering and faculty staff to sign an MoU between UGM and UNTAD in support of the Seismometers in Schools programme in Central Sulawesi.  There was much discussion on the disaster management international conference that UNTAD will host in November.  The conference will coincide with the final evaluation of the SIS pilot project and StIRRRD team will have a very active presence at this event, including having a key note speaker.

Overall, there was a lot of excitement about the new seismometers and opportunities to increase the capacity of teachers and knowledge of the high seismic risk present in Palu and Donggala.  This interest was reflected with high engagement across social media (Twitter) with the national emergency management ministry (BNPB), the New Zealand embassy in Jakarta and the Universitas of Tadulako regularly liking and retweeting @StIRRRD tweets throughout the pilot deployment.  Globally, organisations such as the Raspberry Shake Seismometer network (based in Panama), Australian SIS project, the IRIS earthquake programme (based in Washington) and the British Geological Survey seismology project were also very engaged by commenting, liking and retweeting our posts all week!

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Twitter activity from @StIRRRD during the installation week

Initiating Tsunami Awareness Community Engagement, Rawa Indah, Seluma

The StIRRRD team was in Rawa Indah, Seluma, Bengkulu Province to initiate a tsunami awareness community project. Rawa Indah is a village of about 2500 people located on the broad coastal plain of Seluma and is at risk from tsunami, with no nearby high ground suitable for evacuation. In 2014, BNPB (the National Emergency Management Agency), with the assistance of international development aid and the National Public Works, built a 16-m high tsunami shelter near the village. Responsibility for the shelter has only recently been passed to the local emergency management agency, Seluma BPBD. Little or no work to improve community awareness of tsunami hazard, possible natural warnings or the function of the shelter has been undertaken, and the Seluma BPBD do not have the capacity to maintain the shelter or carry out extensive consultation. As a result, the condition of the shelter has deteriorated.

Rawa Indah Tsunami Sheleter

This initial visit (27 Feb – 1 Mar 2018) of the StIRRRD team was to get to know the people, gain an understanding of their current level of tsunami awareness, and help them to understand the risk associated with this significant hazard.

Rawa Indah Program Sosialisasi Tsunami

Ultimately, the community will develop their own evacuation plan and develop ongoing tsunami awareness centred around better use of the tsunami shelter for village activities. Students from the UNIB (University of Bengkulu) undertook a survey with more than 100 residents, to gauge tsunami awareness and preparedness. With the help of the local Red Cross (PMI), BPBD and UNIB, the team spent a day in the local school discussing hazards, tsunami, preparedness and action with 300 school children as well with the teachers. UNIB also built, and bought with them, a tsunami wave model tank which demonstrates tsunami formation and potential impacts.

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Rawa Indah Tsunami Tank Demo

University Gadjah Mada (UGM) flew an aerial survey and took video of the village surrounds.

Rawa Indah Coastal Plain

A good relationship has been established with the head of the village Pak Rubimanto, and he and his family, and the villagers generously hosted members of the team for 3 nights. Village leaders are extremely keen to be involved and want to utilise the shelter as best they can, and instigate other awareness and preparedness initiatives that the StIRRRD team will help facilitate.

Rawa Indah Village Head

It is intended that nearby villages with a similar risk from tsunami will also benefit from this project, as it will provide a template for the development of other evacuation plans. By working closely with BPBD and PMI, it is anticipated that the capacity of these agencies to assist other villages will improve.

Phase 2 of the engagement in April 2018 will involve some workshops and meetings with key village groups and responsible agencies and continued engagement with the school. It is also planned to hold an information drop-in session in the tsunami shelter on a Saturday, where the draft tsunami plan can be discussed, followed by a movie night. The third phase, later in the year will include a whole of village evacuation simulation and a repeat questionnaire survey.